In The Drink Calls ‘Last Orders’ on Single-Use Plastic Cups

Is your riverside local signed up to practical reusable alternatives?

In The Drink is a not-for-profit scheme to encourage bars to move away from serving in disposable plastic cups which have become a prevalent form of plastic pollution in waterways. Membership of the scheme is free and any bar operator - whether based inland and waterside - is welcome to join.

In The Drink was founded by a group of organisations and individuals who care about protecting marine environments; including Active360, Thames21, Tideway and Anti-Plastic People. Together, with valuable support from DEFRA and the River Thames Society, they are encouraging Thames riverside pubs, commercial boat operators and events to phase out single-use plastic cups in favour of practical, reusable alternatives.

Alison Baker, co-founder of In the Drink said: "We can all play a role in protecting our River Thames and helping to eliminate the ridiculous amount of single use plastic being dished out by pubs - if your local pub, riverside event or a boat operator is serving up in single-use plastic cups, give them a friendly nudge in the right direction. Ask them to check out the reusable alternatives to single use plastic - and tell them about the In The Drink scheme that will promote their pub if they make the switch to more sustainable serving. And if they are already using a reusable alternative, give them a cheer in support. In the Drink will be in touch with them all, very soon".

Since late summer 2018, In The Drink has been working to identify when and why bar operators use single use plastic cups and the perceived barriers to switching to reusable alternatives; consulting with 160+ individual riverside pubs in Greater London. Many pubs have already removed plastic straws from their bars, a move that has been welcomed by many consumers and barely noticed by most. However, large volumes of flimsy disposable cups are still being served and getting into our canals and rivers, where they quickly break into small pieces, get ingested by wildlife and end up in our food chain. At least one large pub chain is considering joining, as are several boat cruise operators.

In 2016, an estimated 100+ million single-use plastic cups were served at UK music festivals alone, of which only a very small proportion were recycled. A growing number of festivals are now moving to reusable cup deposit systems, with Glastonbury Festival set to ban most single-use plastic in 2019. It is time for the wider UK leisure industry to follow suit and play their part in turning the tide on plastic pollution. In the Drink launched mid-2018 and already have several boat operators, independent pub & pub chains expressed interest in joining the scheme in response to changing public sentiment on plastic pollution & as a matter of good corporate responsibility.

In The Drink members get practical information on cost-efficient alternatives to single-use products and suggestions on suppliers. They also receive In The Drink membership material to display and will be promoted via their website and social media channels. See their website for more details.

November 29, 2018