Boston Tea Party to refuse single-use plastics from suppliers

Named Britain’s Most Ethical Coffee Shop, the Boston Tea Party chain has said it will stop accepting all single-use plastics from suppliers by 2020.

Over the next six weeks, the company will phase out the use of plastic milk bottles, replacing them with 13-litre reuseable milk containers, known as pergals, which dispense chilled milk. It will switch to a fully reusable, returnable solution by the end of the year.

This a seen as a brave move for the independent group as it banned the use of single-use cups on 1 June last year, and has since seen sales fall by £250k. It would usually sell £1m in takeaway coffees per year but is down 25%.

Co-owner Same Roberts said the business is thankfully supported by a strong food offer and most customers have been supportive of its stance on single use cups.

He said that the latest scheme was 'a much bigger deal and much tougher thing to do, but we will get there', and that he was in talks with suppliers to find ways of achieving this goal.

'There's been a lot of head-scratching around costs, asking 'how we're going to pay for that?' - but ultimately we work with a lot of like-minded suppliers intentionally so they are all on board to help us solve this problem.'

Roberts concluded, 'Together we are a much bigger force of businesses and they will be putting pressure on their suppliers, so it's going to take a lot of hard innovation, a lot of thinking, a lot of money but we are going to go for it.'

The Bristol-based company currently operates 22 coffee shops across the UK.