Long before the staggering statistics brought to light this month with the #LatteLevy hashtag, PR and communications consultancy Athene Communications banned disposable coffee cups from their office – and is calling on local businesses to do the same.
The ban, implemented at Athene since last summer, put the company ahead of the curve as the use of disposable coffee cups came into the spotlight this month. They are also setting their sights on plastic bottles in 2018.
MPs have called for a 25p ‘latte levy’ charge to be implemented on their use ahead of a possible ban as it was reported that the UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable cups each year.
According to an environmental audit committee report only 0.25% of cups thrown away are recycled. Athene Communications has bought re-useable cups for team members so that they can still get their caffeine fix; but has gone a step further than the country’s MPs, with a 50p fine if you’re caught with a disposable cup. The charge goes towards the company’s fundraising for their charity of the year, the Cancer Wellbeing Service based at Peterborough City Hospital.
Richard Astle, Managing Director at Athene Communications, said: “At Athene Communications we have been doing our bit for a number of years but over the last twelve months we’ve tried to go further. It’s only when you read the figures about disposable coffee cups that you begin to see them everywhere – in bins, left in coffee shops or dropped by park benches.
“We collectively decided to ban them and the team have embraced the change brilliantly – even starting to use their re-useable cups when at home or in the car. We’d love to see other local companies implement their own changes – particularly in light of this recent news.”
On the target of reducing the use of plastic bottles Richard added: “Many of us across the country watched the BBC Blue Planet series last year and saw the scourge of plastic pollution that is having a terrible effect on our oceans and the wildlife that call it home. We want to do our bit to tackle that issue in 2018.”
Athene’s ban reflects the company’s drive to be more environmentally friendly in a number of ways – with car travel, electricity use and printing also being targeted with no printing and car-sharing days. They have also invested in planters and an urban garden to encourage nature and wildlife. The consultancy has been part of the Investors in the Environment scheme since 2013 and last year won one of their national Green Apple Environment Awards at the Houses of Parliament for their achievements.