We're taking action on coffee cups

That’s why we’re proud to announce that by autumn this year, we will have removed takeaway coffee cups from all our stores.

We are still delighted to offer you a free hot drink whenever you shop with us. We just need your help. Once takeaway cups are removed we’d like you to bring in your own reusable cup.

We’re starting with our stores in Banbury, Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury, Wymondham, Upminster and Little Waitrose Fitzroy Street on the 30th April.

And we’ll be in touch again soon to let you know when the change will happen in your local store. But please do feel free to use your own reusable cup before then.

View our frequently asked questions >


A free tea or coffee when you shop with us

Nothing says ‘welcome’ more than a lovely cup of tea or coffee. That’s why we like to offer you a free hot drink when you come shopping at Waitrose. It’s just one of the ways we like to say thank you for your custom.

We've come up with this short guide to help all our myWaitrose customers make the most of the scheme and to remind you about scanning your myWaitrose card.
We hope that through observing this free tea and coffee etiquette we can continue to offer a complimentary hot drink each time you shop with us.


Free tea and coffee etiquette

• Become a myWaitrose member and shop
with us a little (or a lot)

• Enjoy a free tea or coffee (purchase
required) when you pop in for your groceries
(terms and conditions apply)

• Swipe your myWaitrose card at the till

We're improving our cafés

We also want to let you know that we’ll no longer be serving myWaitrose free hot drinks
in our cafés. 

We're starting with our stores in Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury and Wymondham from Monday 30th April, and all other shops from Wednesday 23rd May.

Remember though, you can still enjoy free hot drinks to takeaway from our self-serve tea and coffee machines whenever you shop with us.

Be sure to look out for exciting new promotions coming soon to our cafés, exclusively for myWaitrose members. 


What is happening?


We have committed to removing all takeaway disposable coffee cups from our shops by autumn 2018. As myWaitrose members you will continue to have the option to enjoy a free tea or coffee from your shop’s self-serve machine as a thank you for shopping with us. But in the coming weeks we will be asking you to bring in your own reusable cup, rather than being offered a disposable coffee cup when you go through the checkout.    

The cups will be removed initially in nine test branches from 30th April. This will help us understand how to manage the changeover as smoothly as possible for customers, before rolling it out across all stores in a phased programme by the autumn.


Why are you doing this?


We believe in doing everything we can to protect our environment and while we know that we need to do more, removing disposable cups is the right thing to do.



How many disposable cups do Waitrose giveaway each year?

This will save more than 52 million cups
every year.



How many tonnes of plastic and paper will removing the cups save each year?


It will save 221 tonnes of plastic and more than 665 tonnes of paper a year.


Can't you get rid of them now?


Our aim is of course to deliver this much sooner and we will act in many shops much more quickly as we carry out a phased programme.

The myWaitrose free hot drinks offer has been an integral part of myWaitrose for many years and with such a significant change for both customers and Partners,
we feel it’s important to get it right and be realistic about our delivery target.


So why haven't you done this sooner?


Our current cups are recyclable but the facilities to collect them are limited. We had already moved to a cup that used 25% less material and had been trying to find a coffee cup that could be recycled in mainstream facilities. Recently, however, we concluded this was not an option in the near future. We believe removing all disposable cups is the right thing for us to do now.   

We have been and remain committed to industry efforts to increase the recycling of disposable cups led by the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG) and the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK).


Why haven’t you simply introduced compostable
or recyclable cups?  


We looked at compostable cups carefully and there are currently only a small number of sites in the UK able to process industrially compostable coffee cups (they're not home compostable). The need for all the cups to be transported across the country to these sites means we don’t think it’s currently an environmentally sustainable solution. The cups
plant-based coating and lid means if they are placed in normal recycling they would act as a contaminant. We therefore believe that removing disposable cups altogether is a more effective for the environment.


Where will the test branches be?  


The test will take place from 30th April in the following nine shops before being rolled out in all stores in a phased programme by autumn 2018. We have chosen these stores as they allow us to test a range of different sized stores and formats - Banbury, Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury, Wymondham, Upminster and Fitzroy Street (Cambridge).


Are you getting rid of disposable cups at your Welcome Break/Shell stores?


We are removing cups from our 15 Shell forecourt stores too. We don't give away free tea or coffee at our 27 Welcome Break stores as they have a franchise with a
coffee provider.


Can you pay for a tea or coffee in the café to takeaway in a reusable cup?

Yes, you can pay for a tea and coffee to be put in your own reusable cup.


What size reusable cup fits under the coffee
machine dispenser?


Our self-service machines can fit a cup with a height up to 18cm and they dispense a 12oz drink. You can purchase a Waitrose reusable cup which fits under the machines and safely holds this capacity of drink. If you use another cup you will need to ensure it fits in the machine and can safely hold 12oz drink.



What is happening?


We’re making some  changes to improve the experience in our cafés. These include giving our Partners barista training to provide an even better hospitality service, and introducing an even higher-quality coffee made from 100% Arabica coffee beans, which is both Fairtrade and organic.

This means that from Wednesday 23rd May, myWaitrose customers will no longer be able to collect their free tea or coffee from the café. However you can still enjoy a free tea or coffee from one of our self-serve machines when you make a purchase in store.

We'll be testing this initially in six store cafés from 30th April before introducing in all stores cafes from 23rd May.



Will there be any other changes in the cafés?


We are also planning a new myWaitrose food promotion in our cafés when you buy a hot drink. Look out in store for more information.



Why are you testing this first and where are the six branches?

We feel it’s important to understand how we manage this as smoothly as possible for our customers. The test will take place in the following six Waitrose shops - Billericay, Ipswich, Newmarket, Norwich, Sudbury
and Wymondham.



Why these branches?


The branches allow us to test a range of different sized stores and formats.