Paul UK has doubled the discount it gives customers for using a reusable cup, from 25p to 50p.

The move puts the firm in line with Pret, and ahead of discounts offered at businesses including Costa (25p), Starbucks (25p) and Greggs (20p)

Paul UK CEO Jean-Michel Orieux said the firm intended to lighten the environmental footprint of its on-site customers, and hoped the discount would make “a significant difference”.

Within a year, Paul UK has increased its reusable coffee cup discount from 10p to 50p.

The firm has also launched its own branded reusable cups, which are available in-store at £3.50 each.

The UK discards more than 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups a year, despite claims from the major coffee firms that their cups are “recyclable”.

According to a report published by Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee, just one in 400 takeaway coffee cups is recycled, even though nine out of 10 customers put their coffee cups in recycling bins.

Although predominantly made of cardboard, the plastic lining fused into most cups – required to hold liquids and contain heat – cannot be separated out again in a standard recycling mill. All recycling plants – bar three UK sites – are unable to accept coffee shop cups.

However, both Costa and Starbucks have stated that cups disposed of specifically on their sites will be responsibly recycled, while other firms are moving toward compostable cups.

Waitrose recently banned single-use takeaway coffee cups at selected branches as part of a trial, while Starbucks is trialling a 5p ‘latte levy’ charge on paper cups in 35 branches in London.

Time will tell how smaller businesses will adapt to the change in consumer habits, as many may struggle to offer discounts comparable to those of the coffee giants.

Researchers from The Independent recently found that smaller businesses in the London area believed that, due to lower margins, they would not be able to offer reusable coffee cup discounts without raising prices, particularly if consumers began bringing their own reusable cups en masse.

Essentially, smaller coffee shops and bakers could be forced to raise prices sooner than larger retailers, potentially losing customers, and therefore, losing out to bigger competitors.

Launched on 16 April, the cup benefit will remain a permanent fixture at Paul’s sites.