Australia’s two leading coffee chains have join the ban against plastic, promising 50-cent discounts for patrons who bring in reusable cups for their coffee.
As an incentive to cut down on plastic waste, Starbucks Australia is increasing its discount for customers who bring in their own cups from 40c to 50c, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The Coffee Club, which has 54 cafes across NSW, is also giving a 50c discount off the price of takeaway coffees from Saturday when customers bring their own reusable cups in.
The move by the international coffee chains comes after Starbucks in the UK introduced a controversial “latte levy” last week, a five-pence – or 10c – surcharge on disposable coffee cups.
Starbucks has also recently announced its commitment to eliminate all single-use plastic straws from stores by 2020.
But experts are sceptical that the discount incentives will work.
Marketing and consumer behaviour expert Dr Rohan Miller of University of Sydney said that people were used to living in a “convenience society”.
“We know we always get coffee but it’s a habitual decision … we don’t really think about it,” Dr Miller said. “We want to take our own cup but it’s cumbersome, it’s a hassle so there have to be better ways of doing it.
“That has to be almost the Italian cafe management-style where you stand at a bar, drink your coffee, give them back the cup and then go.”
Rather than giving customers a discount, Dr Miller said charging to use plastic cups would be a more effective solution. “I think people would prefer to save money than not save money and if there’s a cost disincentive that recognises an externality associated with a single-use cup then that’s good,” he said.
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