Grab Your Cup

A cartoon graphic of different styled refillable coffee cups.
Back to all campaigns

Grab Your Cup

The UK gets through over 3 billion coffee cups every year – and most of these cups are landfilled or incinerated (WRAP). If you already own a reusable cup, the most sustainable option is to remember to bring it with you! But our insights show it can be tricky for people to remember their cup alongside busy routines.

So, we trialled ways to nudge people to remember to reuse, including a catchy (aka earworm!) jingle reminding them to grab their cup before they head out, complimented by in-store messaging and on-street advertising to help normalise reuse.

Check this out!

The cup conundrum

Our polling in 2019 , explored people’s reusable cup habits and behaviours. So, grab your cup(pa), and take a moment to read on…

  1. Most people own a reusable cup..

    69% of us in fact. It’s likely many of us own multiple, so access isn’t the issue.

  2. …But don’t often use it

    In fact, only 1 in 6 of us use our reusable cup every time we buy a hot drink fact.

  3. Remembering is the main barrier

    36% of people said remembering their cup was the main reason they didn’t use it.

  4. …Followed by concerns about carrying it

    22% said they had no room to carry a cup, and 20% didn’t want to carry a dirty cup.

  5. Awkward asking

    Digging further, we found many people felt uncomfortable in asking to use their reusable in-store.

From recycling to reuse: Moving up the waste hierarchy

Coffee cups are made with a thin layer of plastic that many recycling plants can’t separate, but this sturdy combo allows them to hold our precious caffeine fix without dissolving like newspaper in the rain! That’s why cups need their own recycling bin to get to special recycling plants. We're increasing coffee cup recycling through 'The Cup Fund'. Supported by Starbucks, the fund has collected over 4.4 million coffee cups so far in 12 funded locations. But increasing use of reusables is the best way to design out waste if used again and again.

Roll on Grab Your Cup, a campaign to remind Mancunians to, well, grab their cup. Given so many people owned a cup but didn’t always use them we wanted to get rid of any stigma around bringing your own cup. Customers often feel embarrassed asking baristas to wash their cup, or awkward asking for their drink in a reusable branded with another retailer’s logo. Grab Your Cup aimed to iron out these anxieties and reassure people that no matter what brand, style, or size – their cup is welcome in store.

We promoted the use of reusable cups with a radio jingle created by Huey Morgan of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals. It played on radio stations and streaming platforms that people engage with early morning, reminding them to grab their cup before they head out. The jingle was backed up by an outdoor advertising and ad campaign in Starbucks, Caffé Nero, Costa, and Greggs stores in the city, featuring a cute reusable cup character. Listen below!

Listen here!

So did it help?

We surveyed 501 people in Manchester and found the jingle was memorable, and the message was strong:

  • 71% of people thought the jingle was effective at catching someone’s attention.
  • 72% of people correctly identified that the message was to prompt consumers to remember their reusable drink cups.
  • 37% of people felt the campaign influenced how they used their reusable cup.
  • 20% said the campaign made them consider buying their own reusable.

The campaign took place in early 2020 as the UK was lurching towards the covid pandemic. This meant some stores stopped accepting reusables. We also weren’t able to get reusable store data from all stores to identify if reusable cup usage increased, so future reusable campaigns would take these factors into account.

How can you get involved?

Remember to #GrabYourCup before going out and help normalise using a reusable cup. Did you know many stores offer discounts on drinks if you bring your reusable?

In this campaign, we joined forces with Starbucks, Caffé Nero, Greggs, Costa, McDonald’s and some independent retailers as well as Manchester City Council and The Greater Manchester Combined Authority to remind people to 'Grab Your Cup'. The jingle was aired on both Hits Radio Manchester and Radio X.


This intervention was designed in collaboration with Creatures of Habit and Glimpse, and was supported by the donations Hubbub receives from the Starbucks 5p cup charge.

Are you a business that wants to collaborate?

Got your own challenge or idea for a project? We love to hear it, let’s talk!

Our reuse work doesn’t stop at cups

We spoke to 40 organisations and 3000 people about the barriers and opportunities for reuse. Find out what we learnt.