Refill Reading


Refill Reading is a grassroots campaign started by Transition Town Reading. We are aiming to reduce the amount of disposable coffee cups going to landfill by encouraging people in our town to use reusable cups in cafes.  This project has the support of both Reading Borough Council and a number of cafes across Reading.

The Facts

It is estimated that in the UK, over eight million disposable cups are handed out by cafes every day, or approximately 2.5 billion annually. Most of these cups are not recyclable due to the plastic lining within the paper cup, and so the waste cups go to landfill, where they may take up to thirty years to break down. For more information see

These cups are also a substantial cost for cafes, especially local cafes without the buying power of chains such as Costa and Starbucks.

What will Refill Reading be doing?

Our campaign has two main elements:

  • Promoting the use of reusable cups by encouraging local cafes to offer an incentive, or discount, for customers who use reusable cups

Cafes can offer incentives such as a 20p discount. Several cafes in Reading, as well as some of the larger chains, already offer similar discounts.

  • Selling reusable cups to local cafes (and the public)

We will be offering cafes in Reading the opportunity to buy reusable Ecoffee cups from us, at an at-cost value (or at a small loss to us – funding dependent). We would ask that these cups are initially sold to the public at this price as an introductory offer. Any cups that are not sold will be bought back by us, so there is no overall cost to your cafe. Cafes can initially buy as many as they like up to a maximum of 50.

Who is involved?

Reading Borough Council are supportive of the scheme and we are applying to them for funding through the Reading Climate Action Network.

A number of cafes have already signed up – full list coming soon!

What are the benefits to local cafes?

  1. Increased customer loyalty – customers are more likely to give repeated business where:
    1. Their reusable cups will be accepted;
    2. They’ll be offered a discount/incentive for using them
    3. They recognise the cafe is a responsible business
  2. Reduced ecological and waste footprint
  3. Media and publicity opportunities
  4. Capture latent income stream by attracting environmentally-aware customers
  5. Cost savings through reduced disposable cup/lid expenditures

What will the Refill Reading cups be like?

Our current preferred supplier of the cups is Ecoffee cups. Ecoffee cups are made from sustainable, naturally organic, naturally sterile bamboo fibre. The bamboo is sourced from sustainably managed plantations in China. The lid and sleeve are made from food-grade silicone.

The cups are light, hard-wearing and dishwasher safe (though not suitable for microwave use). The cups will be 12oz in size and will be branded with ‘Refill Reading’. This is the size of a standard cup and therefore suitable for all barista-grade coffee machines.

Currently we expect the cups will be between £5 – £7.

What marketing material will we have?

We will be producing the cups, which will be branded with ‘Refill Reading’, as well as ‘Refill Reading’ window stickers for cafes so customers know you’re a member of the scheme. A website will be created with a map and list of all members of the scheme. In addition we will be working hard to promote the campaign throughout town in as many ways as possible, including through social media.

Further Questions or Suggestions?

Contact us at


Our logo was created by talented local graphic designer Jodie Bean.