Glasgow Coffee Festival Leads Charge Against Single-Use Cups

Lisa Lawson, the organiser behind the Glasgow Coffee Festival, is calling for the end of single-use coffee cups. Teaming with KeepCup, the festival will provide everyone attending with reusable cups in hopes of showing people how easy it can be to combat coffee cup waste. Seeing as the festival marks the biggest coffee event to ever occur in Scotland, she is sending a message that waste-free coffee culture is possible and important to strive for.

Lisa Lawson, Founder and Organiser of the Glasgow Coffee Festival

The Glasgow Coffee Festival will bring a fortnight of 'coffee-fuelled festivities' to the city from May 2 to May 15. During those two weeks, nearly 100 independent coffee businesses will participate in the festivities by offering deals and discounts to ticket holders. The festival will celebrate specialty coffee, independent producers, ethical coffee, and is all around designed to pay homage to the this iconic beverage at every level. Lawson believes that the festival is coming at the perfect time, as people have recently become more interested in in fine coffee. During the pandemic, the industry for specialty coffee grew significantly, and roasters in Scotland have seen a great increase in sales as coffee-lovers have become increasingly invested in stepping up their own coffee game at home. It is becoming more common for people to specially order their beans online, grind their own coffee, and use gadgets such as an aeropress or even invest in heir own industrial-style espresso machines. A sophisticated appreciation for coffee is certainly present, and the festival will surely interest coffee enthusiasts to join in the celebration.

On another note, the festival's emphasis on sustainable practices comes at a crucial time as well. With COP 26 being hosted in Glasgow late last year, the city is definitely aware of the seriousness of the climate emergency. Every industry has a responsibility to work towards reusable and sustainable practices, and single-use cups are certainly one way in which the coffee industry can make a difference. In Scotland, almost 500 million single-use cups are used every year, with more than 95 million in Glasgow alone. Most of this waste is incinerated or goes to landfill. This issue is not being ignored. Survey data shows that nearly 2/3 of all Scots support charges for the use of single use plastic and packaging. The Scottish Government has also just established an advisory group that has the purpose of introducing a mandatory charge on coffee cups in Scotland. Abigail Forsyth, Founder of KeepCup, said: “We love that Scotland is leading the world in transition to renewables, and now looking at banning problematic and unnecessary packing in the form of the single-use cup. The disposable cup free Glasgow Coffee Festival, and all the cafes and roasters and punters who participated have led the way with cultural change. Power to the people.”

During the pandemic, many cafes had to stop accepting reusable cups for health and safety purposes. Lisa Lawson hopes that by committing the festival to to reusable cups and pledging that nothing will go to landfill on account of the festival, that it will bring awareness to the issue at hand. She said: "I hope within this decade, single-use cups can be a thing of the past. Inevitably, this slipped down people’s priority list during the pandemic, but now is the time to put it back on the top of the agenda." Let's hope that we can all appreciate coffee whilst helping reduce waste during the Glasgow Coffee Festival. Tickets available here.

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