Glasgow Coffee Festival to tackle landfill waste by banning disposable cups

Returning to the city for a fourth time next month, Glasgow Coffee Festival is banning disposable coffee cups in an effort to cut down on waste.

Published 18th Apr 2018
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

Dear Green Coffee Roasters, who are bringing their sell-out event back to The Briggait, say they hope the move will pioneer a culture change, with cups reused rather than thrown away or composted. Instead of getting their samples in the usual disposables, the team will ask ticket holders to bring their own reusable cup, in a bid to combat the 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste disposed of each year in the UK.

Reusable container specialists KeepCup will be on hand to loan cups to anyone who needs to borrow one for the day.

Glasgow Coffee Festival

The festival will use reusable coffee cups instead. Picture: GCF

Lisa Lawson, event organiser and founder of Dear Green Coffee Roasters, explained that a large part of the festival’s ethos stems from their ethical stance: “We felt like it was time for Glasgow Coffee Festival to partner with KeepCup to lead the way with reusable cups.”

Ms Lawson said the initiative had only been made possible because of sponsor KeepCup, whose co-founder Abigail Forsyth added: “I was born in Glasgow, the values that led to the creation of KeepCup are from my Scottish family – ‘many a mickle makes a muckle’ – so it’s awesome that the first disposable cup-free coffee festival is here.”

The pair confirmed that the event has focused on reusable cups rather than compostable due to the confusion over recycling practices in the UK – there’s a common misconception that compostable cups are recyclable, whereas in practice they are usually disposed of in household waste.

Running from 19-20 May, the festival will celebrate speciality coffee, with exhibitors from across the UK serving exciting blends and food, and guests able to enjoy a range of masterclasses, workshops, presentations and demonstrations.

Glasgow cafés Gordon Street Coffee and Artisan Roast will be at the festival, alongside exhibitors from further afield like Casa Espresso from Bradford. Norry Wilson from Lost Glasgow will speak about the history of coffee in Glasgow. And

Keep Scotland Beautiful and KeepCup will be presenting on environmental aspects of the festival.

Tickets cost £14.50 (plus booking fee) per session, with children under-12 going free and visitors invited to meet coffee professionals and wander around a carefully chosen gathering of roasters baristas, artists, brewers and bars while viewing competitions, art, film and photography.

Paul Kelly, sales manager of one of the main sponsors, La Marzocco UK & Ireland, said: “La Marzocco are delighted to support Dear Green once again to showcase the Scottish coffee scene at The Glasgow Coffee Festival. This year’s event will be pioneering and a welcome culture change to encourage the use of reusables.”

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The festival will also witness the UK Brewers Cup final by the Speciality Coffee Association, at which baristas from around the UK will have seven minutes to brew three coffees for the judging panel and showcase the art of hand-brewed filter coffee. Ms Lawson added: “It’s awesome to see the growth in appreciation and understanding of speciality coffee in Scotland. Every year the event has sold out so we’re expecting 2018 to be the best year yet.

“The festival is a great way to celebrate and recognise the speciality coffee community by bringing everyone together for the weekend.”

Proceeds go to support charitable causes World Coffee Research
and Glasgow City Mission, and the full line-up of festival stallholders will be announced in the coming weeks.



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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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