Fancy a brew? In 'My Otley Cup' please! Town council sells 300 reusable cups in fight to cut down on disposable waste

The launch of My Otley Cup
The launch of My Otley Cup
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Councillors in one Leeds town are leading the way in the war against disposable waste by selling colourful coffee cups that can be used time and again.

Otley Town Council launched its own reusable and refillable hot drinks cups in April this year after growing concern globally over one-use throw away products and plastic pollution.

And in just two months, 300 people have purchased the environmentally friendly option - 'My Otley Cup'.

Coun Ray Georgeson, chair of the authority's environment and sustainability committee, was the brainchild behind the scheme and believes Otley is the first town council in the country to launch a reusable cup.

He said: "To have sold that many in such a short space of time, we are delighted. The best ideas are often the simple ones."

Coun Georgeson estimates that Otley residents use around 500,000 disposable cups every year.

He said: "That's an awful lot of unnecessary waste. We have all seen pictures of wildlife, marine life and birds that have been maimed or injured by litter.

"Locally, we are doing out bit to reduce that and to cut down on single use products."

The cups, made of biodegradable bamboo, can be bought at the council offices as well as from local businesses including Sift Cafe and Bondgate Bakery, which are also offering discounts on takeaway hot drinks to people using the cups.

The authority's initial order of 144 cups soon sold out, as did its second. Its third batch is now being ordered from reusable cup brand 'Ecoffee'.

Coun Georgeson said: "It goes to show that if you make it easy, people are interested in eliminating disposable products in their lives.

"It's better for the environment and I think it also appeals to the frugal nature of sensible Yorkshire folk too. We all like a bit of a discount."

Talks are also underway about introducing a water station in the town where people can go to refill their bottles. This, along with an update on the sale of the cups, will be discussed at a meeting of the authority's environment committee on Monday.

David Attenborough ocean documentary series Blue Planet II highlighted the plastic pollution problem, when it aired last year.

Since then, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a £61.4m package of funding for global research and to help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering oceans. More than 40 companies have also pledged to cut plastic use over the next seven years.

In March, ministers rejected the idea of a 25p 'latte levy' on disposable cups, suggesting that instead shops should offer discounts for customers with reusable cups.

The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year and the 'latte levy' was proposed by the Environmental Audit Committe, after it heard that less than one per cent of are recycled because there are only three facilities nationwide that can split the paper and plastic components of the cups.