We're Bringing Back a Charge for Disposable Cups at our Portland Cafes

We're Bringing Back a Charge for Disposable Cups at our Portland Cafes

Aug 1, 2021

Starting today, we're bringing back a 25 cent charge on disposable to-go cups at our Portland cafés. 

As of Sunday, August 1st, 2021, all drink orders using a single-use, disposable to-go cup will be charged an additional 25 cents. 

Some of you, particularly if you’re new to Nossa Familia cafés, may have questions about the pricing, so we’ve put together information about the cup charge and why we started charging for to-go cups in the first place.

How Does the Cup Charge Work?

Disposable Cup Charge
  • Bring your own cup and get the same 25 cent discount we've always offered for bringing your own cup
  • Get your coffee in one of our for-here cups and pay the menu price, no upcharge
  • Get your coffee in a disposable to-go cup and pay 25 cents more than menu price

    Where Does the Cup Upcharge  Go?

    Funds from the cup upcharge are earmarked for purchasing carbon offsets to achieve carbon neutrality.

    Why the 25 cent Upcharge?

    The disposable cup upcharge at our cafés is part of our ongoing commitment to minimize our environmental impact by reducing waste.It’s estimated that 50 million disposable coffee cups are thrown away in the Portland Metro area each year.These single-use cups are not recyclable or compostable so promoting the use of reusable cups has the potential to make a significant and positive impact.

    How does the 25 cent charge for to-go cups make a difference?

    Back in April of 2019, on Earth Day, we took, what we felt was a bold step to become Portland’s first café to charge customers for to-go cups. We also continued to give a 25 cent discount to customers who brought in their own reusable cup. The initiative was inspired by the idea that when we, the customer, are made aware of a cost (in this case both the cost of the cup and the cost to the environment when the cup is disposed of) our awareness can bring about significant behavior change. We might pay for a cup this time and then remember to bring our own reusable cup the next.

    Measurable Results

    When we put the charge in place at Nossa Familia cafés, we were encouraged and energized by our customers who embraced the program - both by those who complied with the upcharge and by those who shifted their behavior, remembering to bring in a reusable cup. Before our cafés were closed due to the pandemic, from January 1 to March 15 of 2020, 63% of our café customers were either bringing in their own reusable cups or choosing their drinks for here. As a result, over 6,000 to-go cups were kept out of the landfill during that two and a half month period alone.   


    At the start of the pandemic, in March of 2020, out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our staff and customers, we halted our reusable cup program and in-house service, and opted to use disposable coffee cups exclusively without the upcharge. When we made this decision, the CDC had not determined how COVID-19 was transmitted. Since that time, CDC research has shown that the risk of surface transmission is low. Today, with the climate crisis being ever more apparent, and vaccination rates steadily increasing, we feel confident that advancing our waste reduction initiative is the right thing to do at this time.

    Thank you!

    Thank you for joining us in the journey to eliminate waste and to provide specialty coffee in a manner that has a positive impact on people and the planet. The goal isn't to make people feel bad or to make a profit off of charging for disposable cups. In fact, this program is “successful,” when more people bring in their own cup and get the 25-cent discount that we offer. And we understand that sometimes you want your drink to go and you need a cup. We'll still make that option available to you. The goal is to add a signal that a disposable cup isn't always necessary, and can probably be saved from our landfills.  

    Further Reading

    Related Nossa Familia Blog Posts

    We'll Charge for To Go Cups At All Our Portland Cafés Starting Today - Here's Why 

    Nossa Familia's Coronavirus COVID-19 Response: Personal Cup Handling Changes & More Info

    Our 2020-2021 B Corp Progress Report: Measuring More than Profit


    Green Groups Hope for Return of Reusable Coffee Cups, whowhatwhy.org

    Single Use Coffee Cup Reduction (BYOC), recyclingadvocates.org

    Science Brief: SARS-CoV-2 and Surface (Fomite) Transmission for Indoor Community Environments, cdc.gov

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.