Vending and the Environment: Vending Cups
The issues surrounding the management of waste coffee cups are not new. Coffee shops were the first target, with the government threatening the now-abandoned “latte levy”, an attempt to reduce waste generated. It soon became apparent that the vending industry would fall into this same category.
What are disposable coffee cups made of?
Paper vending cups are lined with a plastic film to make them waterproof. The difficulty in removing this layer has prevented them from being fully recyclable, although some are biodegradable. Plastic cups could be recycled, but there are hurdles to overcome.
There is a great difference between a takeaway cup and a vending cup. Vending cups need to be separated by precision automation to vend reliably. The rim of the cup must fit precisely into the cup mechanism and be robust enough not to be damaged in transport and handling.
Can disposable cups be recycled?
Waste coffee cups are essentially contaminated waste. They are dirty and generally wet, and regrettably, do not amount to a significantly high volume to attract re-processing. For collection of used disposable cups, schemes are in existence, requiring a “membership fee” to cover the cost of collection, but could be deemed too expensive for some businesses.
100% recyclable coffee cups?
New news is that one paper cup supplier is on the way to achieving a vending cup with a waterproof lining made from plant starch, enabling the paper cup to be disposed of in the waste paper bin, and avoiding the need for expensive recycling schemes. Furthermore, a plant starch sip lid is also on the horizon.
Avoiding the use of disposable cups: reducing environmental impact at work
If you’re a facilities manager, or a business owner looking to reduce the environmental impact of your workplace, there are solutions for you from going paperless to reconsidering your vending options. In the past few months, two of our clients have opted to renew their vending equipment, and as part of the review process, they have decided to use china mugs rather than disposable cups.
This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of people, institutions or organisations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated.
Dishwashers have been installed and staff have been encouraged to participate in “good housekeeping” to ensure that mugs are used hygienically. Whilst this seems to be working for these clients, it may not be a suitable solution in many busy work environments.
So, there is clearly no single solution to reducing the amount of plastic we use and improving the amount we recycle. Recycling is not currently widely available or possible, but compositable cups are in development. Cup-free vending creates waste reduction, but requires washing facilities and good housekeeping.
Awareness has never been greater and pressure from public and government is driving research and innovation. This can only be a good thing for the health of our planet.
Westways Vending is committed to keeping abreast of environmental initiatives in our industry, with a view to offering our clients whichever solution best fits their circumstances.
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Data is Key
The more observant of our customers may have noticed our operators wearing a small device on a lanyard around their necks recently. This is a Datakey, the latest development in our use of Vendmanger software to underpin our fully managed vending service in Sussex, Kent and Surrey.
Upon arrival at a site, the data key is plugged into each vending machine, and accurate information is relayed via Bluetooth to the operator’s Android smartphone. This information includes vend counts; a full breakdown of the sales through the machine and cash reconciliation. It is transmitted directly to our server, allowing us access to the information as soon as the vending operator has completed the visit.
So how do we use this data?
Reactive and proactive replenishment schedules
We carefully analyse the data using Vendmanager to monitor product sales, trends and seasonal variations; and to identify products which maybe selling out before we attend to re-stock. The replenishment schedules we create are based on this information, and because it is in real time, we are able to make changes to our service based on how the vending machines in Sussex, Kent and Surrey are being used.
Westways Vending provides subsidised hot drinks vending machines and snack machines. The accuracy of our data ensures that invoicing is timely and accurate, providing our clients with an uncomplicated refreshment system for their workforce or customers.
Providing reports to customers
Managing our business carefully is important to us. Westways Vending is one of the leading regional vending companies in the South East in providing CQUIN* compliant vending to the NHS. Our datakey information enables us to provide them with regular reports and feedback about sales through their machines, which they are required to collate.
We have not been shy in talking about this, and as a result a number of our public and private sector clients have adopted a similar product range to the NHS. They also provide their staff and clients with a selection of refreshments including healthier choices, with the option to receive accurate data on sales as required.
Informing our purchasing
The biggest development to the drinks market has been the introduction of the sugar tax on 5th April this year. We have used our data to interpret actual sales and monitor whether people are purchasing fewer sugary drinks.
Coca Cola cans are still our highest seller, closely followed by Coca Cola bottles, both of which are up to 15p more expensive than the low calorie equivalent. Red Bull cans are also one of our top sellers also subject to the sugar tax. Sales remain undiminished, but I guess if you need an energy boost, what’s a few pence? Bottled water, the healthiest option available is only about 1 in 8 of our vended sales.
In time our data will tell if tax and guidelines will change consumer’s buying habits, in the meantime our data enables us to maintain stocks of the snacks, confectionary and cold drinks our customers like to purchase.
In summary, our data is key to providing a tailored, fully-managed vending service to our clients throughout the South East.
More information about our fully managed vending service, click here.
*CQUIN is a set of wide-ranging guidelines which the NHS has to follow. They include nutritional guidelines governing the sugar content and calorific value of snacks, confectionery and cold drinks which are permitted in NHS based vending machines.
Key Takeaways From The 10 Year Coffee Study:
- The greatest reduction in death from disease comes from drinking 6-7 cups of coffee a day.
- It doesn’t matter if you drink Decaf, Instant or Ground.
Can 6 Cups of Coffee Per Day Decrease Your Chance of Death?
A recent scientific study conducted by The National Cancer Institute and The National Institute for Health, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association International Medicine, revealed that six cups of coffee per day could decrease the risk of early death by up to 16%.
Researchers have suggested the number of cups of coffee you consume appears to be related to the protection you receive from early death. The results suggest optimum protection comes from consuming 6 cups of coffee a day, which can lead to a 16% reduction in early deaths. This reduction however was decreased to 14% when 8 cups were consumed, and showed that while less than 6 cups can be protective, this is to a lesser degree.
The research also showed that it doesn’t matter whether you have your coffee decaf, instant, or fresh, it is the quantity of coffee consumed which has the protective effect.
This large study of over 500,000 participants, who were studied for 10 years between 2006 and 2016, focused on Britons with an average age of 57. The aim of the study was to provide reassurance to coffee drinkers that coffee can be included as part of a healthy balanced diet.
The results of the study suggest that coffee in all forms can be consumed as part of a healthy diet and these findings are further supported by a European-wide study published in 2017. This study also found that coffee was associated with a reduced risk from certain diseases, and the protective benefits were not limited by country.
More reasons for staff to feel good about their coffee:
Watch Your Caffeine Intake:
Although studies show that coffee is protective, it is important to consider that too much caffeine can have a negative impact on your health.
Negative effects of caffeine can be:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Sleep Disturbance
- Worsened Anxiety
- Headaches (Caffeine Effects on Body)
Therefore, this research suggests that making some of those latte’s a decaf, might be a good way to get your coffee fix with all the benefits and none of the nasties.
Provide Coffee & Create a Healthy Workplace with Westways Vending:
Involving a range of healthy drinks and snacks within your workplace could be the path to happy and healthy employees, and this latest study is an excellent example of how offering coffee within your workplace could improve your employee’s health. At Westways Vending, we offer a wide variety of Fully Managed Vending Machines, including those which provide Coffee and Healthy snacks.
We offer a wide range snacks that meet the NHS requirements; these include popcorn, rice cakes, nuts and seeds, fruit bars and baked snacks, all of which are now available in our workplace and public sites too. At Westways Vending, we value our customers and understand that a healthy workplace improves employee morale and productivity.
We provide high quality vending, and our latest models are A++ rated; machines can also be fitted with touch screens which can display nutritional information, providing your employees with greater opportunities to make healthy choices.
To find out more about our fully managed vending services, please explore our site or give our team a call on 0800 195 3170.