Brighton-based business Bagelman claims to be the first in the city to switch to 100 per cent recyclable and compostable coffee cups.
The new cups hit each of Bagelman’s four stores last month, and this was the final step in a process that has seen the business switch all its packaging to biodegradable and compostable.
Bagelman said its new coffee cups take just 12 weeks to completely degrade under normal compostable conditions, compared to up to 30 years for a traditional plastic lined cup.
Anthony Prior, Bagelman CEO, said: “Coffee is a major part of the business. All our coffee beans are ethical and better than fair trade as they are sourced directly from the farmers who get a better return on their hard work. This helps them to cope with the many challenges they face, including the effects of climate change. It made sense for us to complete the circle by serving ethical coffee in ethical cups. So that’s what we’ve done
“We employ nearly 60 people, and have created 25 jobs in the last two years, that’s 60 livelihoods we’re responsible for, so lots of thought goes into every decision we make, especially as we’re often squeezing the profits.
“But we’ve got a great team of people at Bagelman and everyone’s on board. We couldn’t do it without them. I hope they all know how much we appreciate the extra effort they go to adapting to the almost constant changes!”
Jo Prior, Bagelman director, said: “Biodegradable coffee cups work better for the environment than a tax on traditional plastic lined cups and I’d like to encourage all Brighton coffee shops to start using them. Brighton is a very switched on place where you can buy ethical coffee almost everywhere, whether you’re having a haircut or buying a book.
"It would make a massive impact if all that ethical coffee was also going into eco-friendly cups. It’s true the cups are slightly more expensive and in such a competitive market that cost can’t be passed on to the customer, it has to be absorbed by the business, but it’s well worth it in my opinion.”
Lyn Tyler, operations manager, said: “It’s even better when people don’t use a takeaway cup at all so we’re introducing a discount for people who order a coffee from us and ask us to put it in their own reusable cup. This way nothing ends up as waste at all and our customers save a little bit every time they buy their coffee.”
Established in 1996, Bagelman operates a bakery and four stores in Brighton and Hove. It employs roughly 60 people.