What motivates people to switch to reusable cups?
Some very interesting research has recently been published by Zero Waste Scotland - looking at what motivates us (and what doesn't) to switch to reusable cups for our takeaway coffees.
The research suggests that a charge for a disposable cup - on top of the price of the coffee - is more effective in encouraging behaviour change than offering a discount for a reusable cup.
The suggestion is that we're more motivated by "perceived losses" - in this case getting charged more for the disposable cup than we are by "perceived gains" - the discount we could receive for using a reusable cup. This is in line with something called "loss aversion theory".
We've done a bit of work with local indie coffee shops - looking at how to manage their environmental impacts - and we know there is enthusiasm for doing more around increasing the uptake of reusable cups. Many already sell their own - including North Star Coffee Shop & General Store, Laynes Espresso & Café 164 - and all have mentioned that they've seen a significant increase in customers coming in with reusable cups over the last 12 months.
We're currently looking for funding so we can do more to encourage reusable cup use
We're currently looking for funding so we can do more to encourage reusable cup use in Leeds. As you'll know we've been very involved with #LeedsByExample over the last twelve months - which has had a primary focus on recycling single-use cups. But it's clear that we really need to be reducing the amount of cups we get through too - and using more reusable cups.
What do you think of this research? Does it make sense to you - and do you think we should be encouraging coffee shops to charge for disposable cups - aka a latte levy?