Plymouth … aka ‘Britain’s Ocean City’. So it’s only fitting that it’s here, where people are coming together to lead the campaign to do something about ocean plastics.
Plymouth is among the first places in the UK to have a universal, re-usable cup, recyclable cup that can be used at participating outlets city-wide. Some of the city’s biggest employers are also getting on board by supplying the cup for their staff to use on their commute and while at work.
The One Plymouth cup was launched on 6 April, following a waterfront chat over coffee. It’s the brainchild of Scott Grenney from the One Plymouth community network and local business owner David Williams of Redrok.
Already, a dozen cafés have signed up as participating stockists, including Theatre Royal Plymouth and The Treasury. All are offering launch offers and discounts to encourage people to get involved. Stockists are also being encouraged to pop special ‘golden ticket’ offers into random cups as an added incentive. So far this has included family day passes for the National Marine Aquarium.
Other outlets such as Costa, Starbuck’s and the Plymouth University café are also offering discounts to people bringing their reusable cups – including the One Plymouth cup – as part of their coffee schemes.
Among the employers supplying the cup is Citizen’s Advice Plymouth. Another is Bright’s Solicitors. David and Scott are now talking to the all the big employers and sports clubs in the city and hope to announce more ‘big signings’ soon.
Scott is one of the co-founders of One Plymouth, a community network set up to celebrate the #BestOfPlymouth and prompt the city as a fantastic location to live, work and visit. Their Facebook page has over 17,000 fans with a monthly post reach of 325,000 people.
He explained how the cup came about: “I was having coffee with David on the Barbican and we sat and watched everyone walk by with plastic cups in their hands. I went online and discovered that 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown out in the UK every year because most of them aren’t recyclable, due to the polyethene lining and they’re single-use!
“Only one cup in 400 gets recycled. We ended up talking about it for two hours, just thinking about what we could do to help.
“I’m sure that other towns and cities will be following us, once they’ve seen how successful it is here. I knew it would take off, but it’s gone crazy. The first batch sold out within a few days and we’ve just had a load more made.
“This initiative is about behavioural change, to make a difference, and to put Plymouth on the map as the city that’s leading the change. It’s great to be doing something about it here in Plymouth, which is branded as Plymouth’s Britain’s Ocean City.”
The cup retails at £8, which can be recouped quickly by buying the discounted drinks. The cup, which is made in the UK and has a screw-top lid, can be used in a microwave and dishwasher, is durable and designed to last. It’s BPA-free, which means it’s non-toxic. Crucially, it’s 100% recyclable. And, for each cup sold, 25p goes to the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) in Plymouth to support their marine conservation agenda.
Nicola Murray, Head of Discovery and Learning at the NMA, said: “The One Plymouth Cup has united a huge number of businesses in Britain’s Ocean City, creating positive behaviour change around single use plastic and a throw away, takeaway coffee society.
“The National Marine Aquarium is a charity with a vision of connecting us with our oceans, so we are most grateful to be the designated charity for this campaign.”
The One Plymouth cup started off blue to reflect the colour of the sea but will soon be available in a range of colours. They can only be bought at stockists, not online, so that people actually visit their local venues: “It’s great for businesses and it means being part of something bigger,” said Scott.
“They’re also very publicly showing their corporate social responsibility and they get lots of publicity on the One Plymouth community social media channels. Everything about this is positive, which people realise. People love the idea.”
Among them, Suzi Cumberland, Business Manager at Citizens Advice Plymouth. She said: “The charity is delighted to be supporting the One Plymouth cup #DoingMyBit initiative. As an organisation, we provide advice to those that live, work and study in Plymouth, so we are passionate about the ethical sustainability of the environment that surrounds our staff and clients.
“Our team of skilled advisers provides financial guidance daily, including how to save money, so this is a fantastic opportunity to put cost-saving solutions into practice across our own office. We have just under 100 staff and volunteers at Citizens Advice Plymouth and the team is thrilled to be supporting local businesses, contributing to the reduction of one-use plastic and enjoying the benefits of discounted purchases.
“This is a fantastic concept and I would encourage all businesses to consider the difference they could make by contributing.”
The cups are supplied by David’s company, Redrok. There’s even the option for companies to have their logo on the cup, depending on how many they order.
“David and I are doing this because we want to do something about single-use coffee cups and other single use plastics,” said Scott. “That’s why we came up with the hashtag, #DoingMyBit. The biggest aim is to raise awareness. It’s about spreading the word. I live in Plymouth, I love the waterfront, I love the sea. The pictures we’ve all seen of the oceans full of plastic have been a wake-up call.”
Information about participating outlets and how you can get involved is on the One Plymouth website. There’s also a group page on Facebook.
Press Release by Laura Joint