Which cafés in St Albans give you a discount for bringing in your own cup?

13th April 2018

With a growing local and national push against plastic waste, we asked what St Albans restaurants and cafés are doing to cut down.

Anew campaign, Plastic Free St Albans, has been started to raise awareness of the issue locally, following in the footsteps of #refusethestraw.

The Coffee Ethic cart at St Albans council offices offer a 20p discount for people who brings their own cup or reuses a cup and will shortly be using biodegradable packing for everything including cups.

The managers of the courtroom café due to open at the new museum and gallery, Leafi, say they will use 100 per cent compostable cups and the museum is considering selling branded reusable cups.

Council head of community services Joe Tavernier said: “When entering into agreements with catering operators to run coffee carts, cafés or restaurants from properties that we manage directly, we take into account their approach to sustainability and their contribution to the community.”

Hatch, which has outlets in The Maltings and Holywell Hill, gives 30p off to people who bring their own cups and also uses Vegware, which looks like ordinary cups, straws and cutlery but is made from biodegradable starch.

Inn on the Park in Verulamium offers its customers a 10 per cent discount for bringing in their own cup, and is currently working on how to reduce the amount of plastic they use.

Café on the Corner on Catherine Street offers a 30p discount to people who bring in their own cups and is looking at a range of other ways of reducing waste, including selling their own reusable cups and taking part in Sustainable St Albans Week at the end of this month. They also say when they order takeaway cups they make sure they are recyclable.

Charlie’s Coffee and Company, which has a shop on London Road and a van at City Station, takes a slightly different approach: it sells its own cups for customers to reuse.

The owner of Courtyard Café on Hatfield Road in St Albans, Michael O’Shea said they now recycle all of their plastic and are looking into selling reusable cups made out of bamboo. He said: “I saw a picture of a turtle with a straw up its nose and that was the trigger for me.”

The café also had a Christmas tree made of plastic bottles donated by a local school last year.

The Oval Café in Harpenden say they are looking at vendors who can supply biodegradable cups and straws, but do not offer a discount to people who bring in their own cups.

Rev Simon Carver, the minister of Dagnall Street Church, which houses the Cross Street Centre Refectory, said they do not use much plastic as their produce comes from butchers and greengrocers. He said he would think about offering discounts to people bringing in reusable cups for takeaway drinks.

Gail’s Artisan Bakery on Market Place in St Albans offer customers a 20p discount for bringing in their own cups and is also looking into how to reduce their plastic waste.

Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s is removing plastic straws from all of its 103 outlets over the next few months.

Chief executive Mark Jones said: “In 2017, Carluccio’s used 1.5 million straws across its UK business and around half a million in London alone.

“Removing plastic straws is us playing our part in reducing the volume of plastic that significantly damages our environment and wildlife.”

Waitrose, which has stores in St Albans and Harpenden, is removing all plastic cups by the autumn.

Head of sustainability Tor Harris said: “We realise this is a major change, but we believe removing all takeaway disposable cups is the right thing to do for our business and are confident the majority of customers will support the environmental benefits. It underlines our commitment to plastic and packaging reduction and our aim is to deliver this as quickly as possible.”