Exploring the feasibility and desirability of in-house diversion programs for disposable hot beverage cups at the store level in Halifax Regional Municipality
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Disposable hot cups are associated with various environmental problems including increased pressure on landfills caused by their disposal. The objective of this study is to support decision-making for improved waste diversion opportunities for disposable hot cups in HRM, by developing a better understanding of the drivers and barriers to the implementation of in-house diversion programs. This was undertaken by interviewing ten NS Regional Waste Management Offices’ managers/coordinators, six recycling/composting facilities, and twelve purposively selected coffee shop owners/managers in HRM. Both policy and technical issues were identified as exterior challenges, particularly from the operational perspectives. Interior barriers included cost, no control of internal decision-making (e.g., franchisee being directed by head office), not enough incentives, no perceived economic benefits, and limited customer engagement. However, there were perceived environmental benefits (e.g., waste reduction) for those that implemented internal diversion programs. Additional motivating factors included environmental obligations, financial support, corporate initiatives, customers’ demand, and public pressure. Ultimately, it was found that it is feasible to divert coffee cups in some regions, but further technical evaluations and policy alignment are needed before they can be easily diverted in HRM. Key Words Coffee cups, In-house waste diversion program, End-of-life options, Recycling, Composting, Landfill, Waste reduction.