We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Keep Cup

Some Irish cafes won't be taking reusable cups in a bid to tackle coronavirus

Several Irish cafes have already taken steps to protect staff and customers from Covid-19.

COFFEE SHOPS AND cafes have started to decline reusable cups from customers amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19. 

Several Irish cafes have taken the decision, following in the wake of global chain Starbucks’ decision to introduce a temporary ban on increasingly popular reusable cups. 

Starbucks had already closed branches across China in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Reusable or ‘keep cups’ have become a more popular choice among waste-conscious consumers and the use of these cups have been widely encouraged by cafes in recent years. 

But coronavirus has prompted some Irish cafes to change their policies. Last night, one further case of Covid-19 was confirmed in the Republic of Ireland – bringing the total to 19. 


Popular Dublin coffee chain 3fe announced this weekend that, in a bid to protect staff and customers from coronavirus, it would “no longer be accepting reusable cups until further notice”. 

Other cafes have also begun telling customers not to hand in reusable cups, at least in the short-term. 

The decision was about taking responsibility for staff and customer safety, Dublin Barista School director James McCormack told 

The city centre cafe serves around 500 people a day and McCormack said it was quite an “obvious” step to “reduce the potential of it spreading”. 

“As a public operator,” he said, “it is more about being responsible”. 

McCormack said that coronavirus was already having a broader impact on the company, pointing to cancelled corporate bookings and a subsequent loss of income.  

He also said he was concerned about a lack of interest in the cafe’s coffee-making and barista courses.  

“We haven’t seen a drop, but that’s the uncertainty,” McCormack said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen next week.”

Karl Purdy, the owner of Dublin coffee chain Coffeeangel, had similar concerns. The company took the decision yesterday to decline reusable cups for the foreseeable future. 

“At this stage, our first priority is our staff health and safety,” he said. “That’s driven our decision.”

Purdy said that coronavirus had “forced the hand” of Irish cafes and coffee chains. 

“We’re all like-minded in taking care of our teams and the public,” he said. “There is no one to blame at this stage. All we can do is work through it.”

Purdy added that he was “wishful but not hopeful” that there will be any help or support from the government. 

Last year, the government announced that disposable cups are to be hit with a levy of up to 25 cent under plans to tackle plastic waste. 

The decision was widely criticised by independent cafes and businesses, with some labelling it the “easy way out” to tackle climate change.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel