This is a brave move for a company that makes its money selling coffee.
Back when I lived in Bristol, England, Boston Tea Party was one of my favorite hang out spots. Good cake, great coffee, and a lovely walled garden in the back to hang out in—what's not to like? Now there's another reason to support this coffee shop that's since blossomed into a chain of 22 locations:Waitrose ban disposable cups, but, as commenters rightly pointed out, Waitrose was giving the stuff away for free, so a move that discouraged consumption would actually save them money.
Boston Tea Party, on the other hand, makes its money selling coffee, tea and other beverages. Any drop in consumption will directly impact their bottom line. And given that they previously introduced a 25 pence discount for anyone using a reusable cup—yet only 3% of take out customers utilized the offer—it's not unreasonable to assume that some people will go elsewhere for their caffeine fix. But let's hope that the recent flurry of activity and activism around single-use plastics will mean that other customers will choose to give them their business.
They certainly deserve it. Alongside this bold move, the company has also switched to paper straws, and switched bottled water sales to Bristol-based Frank Water—a company which raises money for clean water charities, and which moved all of its products to glass rather than plastic bottles, even though it cost them a 35% drop in business overnight.
Scanning my app, Boston Tea Party doesn't yet appear to officially be a part of the UK's Refill scheme—but given their brave policy on disposable cups, it wouldn't shock me if they're refilling water bottles for free too.
Either way, they deserve a hearty round of applause for taking a stand on disposable cups. Your move, Starbucks...