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  • Hello, and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Rob.

  • Now Rob, we've talked before on this programme about our love of coffee.

  • Oh yes, indeed. I couldn't function without it.

  • But have you ever thought about the environmental consequences of all those disposable coffee cups?

  • Oh yes, indeed. I always carry a reusable cup with me so I don't have to throw one away.

  • So if a "disposable cup" is one you throw away, a "reusable one" is one that you can use again and again.

  • Yes, there is a big problem with disposable cups in that many of them can't be recycled, so there is a lot of waste for something we only use for a short time.

  • What are the big coffee shop chains doing about this problem? We'll find out a little bit more shortly, but first, a quiz for you.

  • Which country drinks the most coffee per capita - so not the total amount of coffee but the average per person.

  • Is it: a) Japan, b) Kenya, or c) Finland.

  • What do you think, Rob?

  • Ooh, tricky. I don't think the Japanese are big coffee drinkers and I know they produce a lot of coffee in Kenya.

  • I'm surprised the USA isn't on the list but I'm going to go with Finland. Just because.

  • Well, we'll see if you're right later in the programme.

  • On a recent BBC "You and Yours" radio programme they discussed the topic of coffee cups.

  • Some of the big chains are now charging customers more for a disposable cup and giving discounts if people bring their own reusable.

  • However not all of the shops actually collect old cups and sort them for recycling in the shop itself.

  • Here's Jaz Rabadia from Starbucks.

  • Is the store only interested in facilities inside their shops?

  • It is something that we are in the process of rolling out and it will be in all of our stores.

  • It's also not just our stores in which these cups end up.

  • So we're doing a lot of work outside of our store environment to ensure that paper cups can be recycled on the go.

  • We're working with our environmental charity partner Hubbub to increase recycling infrastructure outside of our stores because that too is where a lot of our cups will end up.

  • So are they just working in their stores at improving recycling?

  • Well no, after all most people take their coffee out of the stores, so they are working on recycling infrastructure outside as well.

  • This will be things like bins and collection points which are clearly marked for coffee cups.

  • And what about enabling recycling cups in store?

  • Well she said that was something they are rolling out to all stores.

  • "Rolling out" here means introducing over a period of time.

  • So it's starting to happen, but is not finished yet.

  • Let's listen again.

  • It is something that we are in the process of rolling out and it will be in all of our stores.

  • It's also not just our stores in which these cups end up.

  • So we're doing a lot of work outside of our store environment to ensure that paper cups can be recycled on the go.

  • We're working with our environmental charity partner Hubbub to increase recycling infrastructure outside of our stores because that too is where a lot of our cups will end up.

  • Not everyone, however, believes that the coffee chains are doing everything that they can.

  • This is Mary Creagh, a member of the British parliament.

  • She compares the situation to that of the plastic bag charge.

  • This was a law brought in to force shops to charge customers for plastic bags, which previously had been free.

  • If you think you're having to pay extra for something, as we saw with the plastic bags, we think a similar psychological measure is needed, a nudge measure, to encourage people to remember to bring their reusable cup with them.

  • And of course this is something that the coffee shops have been fighting tooth and nail.

  • She thinks that we consumers need a "nudge" to help us remember our reusable cups.

  • Yes, we need a nudge, which is a little push, a reason.

  • In this case, she is thinking of a law to make them charge more.

  • But she says the coffee chains really don't want this, they are, she says, fighting it tooth and nail.

  • If you "fight something tooth and nail," you are against it completely and try to stop it.

  • Let's hear MP Mary Creagh again.

  • If you think you're having to pay extra for something, as we saw with the plastic bags, we think a similar psychological measure is needed, a nudge measure, to encourage people to remember to bring their reusable cup with them.

  • And of course this is something that the coffee shops have been fighting tooth and nail.

  • Time to review our vocabulary, but first, let's have the answer to the quiz question.

  • Which country drinks the most coffee per capita?

  • Is it: a) Japan, b) Kenya, or c) Finland.

  • What did you think, Rob?

  • I took a bit of a guess at Finland.

  • Well, congratulations, your guess was correct.

  • The Finns on average get through an amazing 12kg of coffee a year, each.

  • Now, onto the vocabulary.

  • We had a couple of related but opposite words.

  • Something disposable is designed to be used once or a few times and then thrown away and a reusable is designed to be used again and again.

  • We then had "rolling out," which in a business sense is the process of gradually introducing something new.

  • This could be a new system, new product, new technology or even a new way of doing things.

  • New ideas often need new "infrastructure."

  • This is usually physical structures that are needed to make something work, for example rail infrastructure includes tracks, stations and signals.

  • A "nudge" is a small push, to encourage us to do something.

  • You don't need a nudge to carry a reusable coffee cup, do you?

  • Oh, no, I'm all for it.

  • In fact I'd "fight tooth and nail" to keep hold of my reusable, which is quite a coincidence as that was our last expression today.

  • "To fight tooth and nail" means to make a strong effort to try to stop something or achieve something.

  • Well, that's all from us.

  • We look forward to your company next time.

  • Until then, you can find us in all the usual places on social media, online and on our app.

  • Just search for "BBC Learning English." Goodbye!

  • Goodbye!

Hello, and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

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Coffee cups: Do you use your own? Listen to 6 Minute English

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    Amy.Lin posted on 2019/08/08
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