We are based here in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. If you haven’t been, you don’t know what you are missing. It’s living here next to the River Severn that motivated us to start Cup Solutions, to do our bit to reduce litter, love our river and look after where we live – so we set up the Shrewsbry cup in 2019.
Cup Solutions is run by Sophie Peach and Ali Thomas – here is a bit about these two people who have a bee in their bonnet about single-use stuff and looking after where we live!
Sophie lives here in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Like many millions of other people from around the world, who watched David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’ she was appalled at the effects of plastic waste on wildlife in the oceans and galvanised into action. On 1st January 2018, her New Year’s resolution was to start a Shrewsbury initiative to reduce single-use plastic waste.
In the past, Sophie felt downhearted and overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the environmental challenges we, as humans, face. She felt the need to be part of something positive that will make a difference here in the community. Inspired by what was achieved in Freiburg, Germany, a forward-looking university city, which launched the re-usable Freiburg Cup in October 2016, she visited Freiburg in July 2018 to meet the people behind the project. Thanks to their help and advice and a lot of conversations with people here in the town, and one very determined, dynamic and knowledgeable colleague, Alison Thomas, Cup Solutions has taken shape. It feels like a small-scale, positive initiative that makes people stop and think and empowers them to be the change they want to see in the world. She feels lucky to live in a small, creative, dynamic community like Shrewsbury where there is a healthy appetite for positive change.
Sophie is the first to acknowledge that the Cup Solutions is not going to save the world. However, this feels like a very positive contribution we can all make.
Ali has lived in Shrewsbury for over 20 years – her 3 boys have grown up here. She studied Environmental science at Aberystwyth university back in the 80s. She started out working in industrial waste in the UK but also in Africa and Honduras, Central America. But once settled in Shropshire she realised that perhaps we are best placed to make a difference in our own community.
Ali has been involved with community engagement and behaviour change projects for 15 years in Shropshire and is committed to trying to encourage businesses, events and households to make sustainable choices and to tread more lightly. Since 2011, Ali has managed Zero Waste Events – which works with 30 events a year to help them manage their waste and recycling.
After witnessing the sheer volume of waste produced by single-use coffee cups – with no route for recycling – she was determined to find a solution to change the way we consume drinks at events. So together with Sophie – she persuaded the Hay Festival to trial reusable coffee cups in May 2018. The public loved them, the coffee sellers saved money and told them the cups were good and best of all the volume of non-recyclable single-use cups was reduced by 92%. She and Sophie thought if we can do it at events why not in towns? And so Cup Solutions was born.