VIDEO: Fancy dress campaigners urge Chichester supermarket to cut coffee cup waste

A business owner decided to spend her birthday dressed as a whale to encourage a Chichester supermarket to start using more easily recyclable coffee cups.

Kay Mawer was joined by Julia Grant in a lobster outfit and Nikki Levett dressed as a strawberry to urge Waitrose to consider a 'more environmentally-friendly solution'.

Nikki Levett, Kay Mawer and Julia Grant outside Chichester Waitrose

Nikki Levett, Kay Mawer and Julia Grant outside Chichester Waitrose

Kay, who runs Clothkits in the Hornet, approached the supermarket, where she shops, last week to ask if she could give her own birthday gift of 500 compostable cups to shoppers, but was turned down with Waitrose saying those currently on the market 'are not a sustainable option'.

Speaking from outside the store this afternoon, Kay said: "Waitrose have a loyalty scheme where they giveaway coffee in a disposable, non-recyclable coffee cup, to a rate of up to million a week.
"They’ve had this going for seven years and it’s an ongoing marketing ploy.
"I asked if I could spend my day in Waitrose giving their lovely customers the option to have a compostable cup, and I was told I very much couldn’t."

The UK gets through at least seven million disposable coffee cups every day, which is 2.5bn a year, however less than one in 400 is being recycled, an Environmental Audit Committee found in January.

Though they are made of paper a polyethylene plastic lining to make them waterproof means they can't be dealt with at conventional recycling facilities, so the huge majority go to landfill.

Sir David Attenborough's recent Blue Planet series has place the huge issue of plastics in our oceans sharply into the public's consciousness.

In response to Kay, Waitrose said it feels more work is needed to understand the environmental impact of paper packaging.

A spokesman said: "We have looked at compostable cups such as the ones you mention carefully and there are currently only a small number of sites in the UK able to process industrially compostable coffee cups, they're not home compostable.

"The need for all the cups to be transported across the country to these sites means we don't think it's currently an environmentally sustainable solution.

"We are trying to find a coffee cup that can be recycled in mainstream facilities and in the meantime we have moved to a cup that uses 25 per cent less material."

The supermarket said it was currently offering reusable coffee cups at a promotional price and had committed to joint-funding a recycling programme run by Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment to find long-term and nationwide recycling solutions.

It said it had a number of environmentally friendly options for its customers in-store in Chichester.

Kay has today launched a petition called: 'Waitrose - Stop Using Disposable and Non Recyclable Coffee Cups NOW!' which has already been signed nearly 200 times.

The group also spent the day walking around Chichester city centre raising awareness of the environmental issues surrounding the widespread use of the coffee cups.

View her petition at