Science

Why Costa’s advertising and marketing manoeuvre was an environmental blunder

October 1st noticed what has been branded as “one of many greatest advertising and marketing campaigns in Costa’s historical past”. Sure, I’m speaking about their phenomenal free drink giveaway which granted each single buyer the drink of their selection for a complete 24 hours from any of their 8,500 Specific machines throughout the UK. No strings.

Nonetheless, the marketing campaign failed to handle one of the outstanding media problems with the final two years: the plastic waste downside. On Costa’s web site they themselves state that “2.5 billion espresso cups are thrown away annually”, which works out at slightly below 7 million per day. With Costa occupying essentially the most shops of any espresso chain within the UK, it’s secure to imagine that the corporate accounts for a big proportion of the espresso cup waste on this nation. 

The advertising and marketing ploy belittled Costa’s environmental pleasant initiative which gives a 25p low cost on take-out drinks when the shopper opts for a re-usable cup; as a result of why would anybody use their medium-sized plastic cup after they might get a big drink free of charge with out them?

What occurs to disposable cups?

Disposable espresso cups are technically recyclable, and are sometimes seen marketed as disposable ‘paper cups’ by corporations to make them appear extra environmentally pleasant. Nonetheless, take-out espresso cups, akin to these distributed by Costa Specific machines, have a skinny inside polyethene (plastic) layer which is tightly bonded to the outer paper coating, giving the cups’ its waterproof property. Used cups are sometimes additionally contaminated with the drink. 

These elements make it troublesome for disposable cups to be sorted and separated in commonplace recycling vegetation. This could solely be achieved in specialist recycling amenities… solely three of which exist within the UK. Because of this, lower than 1% of disposable cups are literally recycled; the remaining 99% find yourself in landfill.

Environmental impacts

The plastic polyethene lining of espresso cups takes years to interrupt down and when it does, it kinds what is named microplastics. The problem gained media momentum in 2018, when the environmental impacts of microplastics have been highlighted within the finale episode of Blue Planet II. The episode explored how plastic waste enters water methods and impacts marine life, which might consequently enter the meals chain to succeed in meals that we in the end eat.

Whereas this week’s advertising and marketing marketing campaign might have elevated Costa’s buyer base, it failed to know the doubtless devastating environmental impression of such a promotion. If we’re to turn into a extra environmentally pleasant nation, the front-runners within the espresso trade must pave the way in which by designing advertising and marketing methods that don’t find yourself within the River Aire.

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