Reducing waste

We understand the importance of the responsibility we have as a global coffee business to make better choices when it comes to reducing waste.

Refill. Reuse. Reduce.

We’re constantly looking out for new ways to help us minimise our impact on the environment.

Whether it’s encouraging the reuse of products in our stores or recycling the materials we do use into new resources for the future, we want to continually make positive changes to our business and for the planet. 

Below are a few of the initiatives we are involved in to help us achieve our mission. Read our policy on managing our environmental impact here.


Man holding Refill logo stickerIn 2018, as part of our commitment to reducing waste, Costa Coffee became the first business to sign up to Refill, a nationwide campaign designed to reduce plastic waste by encouraging people to use reusable water bottles.

It’s estimated that the average UK adult purchases 3 plastic water bottles every week, so we’ve pledged to provide free drinking water on request from all of our stores across the country, creating over 2,000 Refill stations and giving everyone the opportunity to make more sustainable choices.

Look out for the Refill logo in our store windows as a reminder that they offer free drinking water!


Our plastic iced drink cups are made from 70% recycled materials and can be disposed of in any public mixed recycling bin


Costa Coffee glass with iced coffeeIn summer 2018, we introduced brand new glassware for our iced drinks as part of our commitment to reducing our consumption of single-use plastics.

We are the first and only UK coffee brand to offer our customers a sustainable alternative to plastic cups for iced drinks, and we are already starting to see the difference this change has made.

Just 6 months after introducing our new in-store glassware we were able to save around 8 million plastic cups from being used!


In 2018, we ditched single-use plastic straws from our stores and switched to paper alternatives


By removing napkins from our condiment units, we helped reduce our paper waste by 43%

Coffee grounds

Costa Coffee barista handing over a bag of wasted Costa coffee grounds to a customer to be recycledSince June 2016, we've been working with clean technology company bio-bean to recycle our used coffee grounds into biofuel. Through this partnership, bio-bean now recover over 3,500 tonnes of coffee grounds every year from around 900 Costa Coffee stores.

In addition to our bio-bean partnership, Costa Coffee also runs an initiative called Grounds for Grounds, which gives our customers the opportunity to take our used coffee grounds home to use in their gardens. Coffee grounds make great fertiliser or can be used to create a naturally balanced compost pile!

Just pop into your local store to request our grounds and watch your garden flourish!


Recycling our coffee grounds into biofuel reduces our CO2 emissions by 420 tonnes every year – that’s the equivalent of planting a forest the size of 110 football pitches

Food surplus

Costa Coffee flat white in a china cup and croissantReducing food waste is incredibly important to us. And rightly so. To help us minimise the amount of food we waste, we’ve put in place a number of initiatives which includes, first and foremost, a highly efficient ordering system designed to reduce waste before it is created.

Our Food Surplus Policy enables stores to make food donations to local and national charities on request and, for those stores who’s waste streams we manage, any food waste that cannot be redistributed we send to Anaerobic Digestion, where it is turned into biogas and bio fertiliser.

We also partner with FareShare to donate surplus food from our supply chain meaning that food that might otherwise have gone to waste is sent to charity and community groups that support vulnerable people across the country.

If you represent a charity that could make use of Costa Coffee food surplus and would like to collect regularly from your local store towards the end of their trading hours, please pop in and speak with the Store Manager. To read more about our approach to food surplus donations, please see our policy.

Waste not, want not! Our stores also offer a 50% discount on food during the last hour of trading that is in date but cannot be sold the following day!