Monday, 27 September 2021

Village cafes doing their bit for the environment

Village cafes doing their bit for the environment

CAFES and coffee shops in villages around Henley have introduced eco-friendly schemes, writes Jamie Presland.

Dave Field, who runs the Field Kitchen in Nettlebed, began using compostable cups last month.

He said: “It has come as a shock how bad the situation with plastic actually is. We’ve heard for years that plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade but when you see what’s happening people want to do something about it.”

He believes a levy on non-biodegradable coffee cups would encourage people to be more responsible.

He said: “Most people may start off paying for them but they will soon realise how much it’s costing them. Most people are realistic and know that you have to be responsible now.”

Steph Kingsland, who runs Pierreponts café in Goring, said she is committed to making the business eco-friendly but doesn’t believe selling compostable cups would be effective. She said: “We aren’t concentrating on coffee cups because it doesn’t make any difference as they aren’t recycled.

“If you take a coffee cup away you will put it in a bin in the street which will go to landfill.

“We are pushing on things that do make a difference. We give a discount to customers who bring in their own cup and we sell reusable cups. We also have paper straws rather than plastic ones and we have no plastic bottles — all of ours are glass. We also use wooden cutlery.”

Mrs Kingsland said she didn’t support a levy on takeaway cups but agreed it could help to encourage more people to use their own reusable containers.

She said: “We should be pushing that more and asking people when they come in whether they have their own cup.

“People are more conscious of what they are doing now but raising awareness has got to be done higher up. We’ve got to change the culture.”

Nikki Steiger, who runs the Stoke Row Store café, says her cups can only be recycled at one of the specialist plants but she is considering moving to fully compostable versions.

She said: “We want to offer reusable cups for sale but they are quite expensive. If people start bringing in their own cups for us to fill up we will offer them a free coffee every so often.

“I hope a 25p charge will encourage people to use their own cups because I don’t think that money is going to help the environment. We all need to be a bit more responsible.”

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