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Sustainable bee cups launch in support of We Love MCR!

The iconic Manchester bee is to be emblazoned on certified plastic-free takeaway cups throughout the city, which can be effortlessly recycled with paper and card after use. Launched by the family-run catering equipment business, Stephensons, circa 5% will be donated to our life-changing work with Manchester's communities and young people.

Granted the rights by Manchester City Council, Stephensons are one of very few companies to have the official rights to use the iconic bee symbol. Celebrating our city’s identity and helping the region cut single-use plastics, the cup builds on the momentum created by the widely recognised bee straws. Since Stephensons launched them in 2018, they have generously donated a smashing £5,000+ to us from their sales to date!

Our Chair, Lord Mayor of Manchester Donna Ludford, said:

"I'm passionate about improving the city for all our communities, so it's fantastic to partner with Stephensons which shares that ambition. After the success of the bee straws, which I love to see across our city, I can’t wait to see their beautiful coffee cups in cafes, bars, and venues throughout Manchester. They'll make a great impact in helping reduce waste, and the donations made to We Love MCR will help us to improve more lives across Manchester.”

Leader of Manchester City Council Bev Craig, added:

"I welcome this innovative initiative, which reduces environmental impact and invests in our community. The Manchester worker bee positively represents Manchester, so to see it on biodegradable coffee cups across the city will be a great way to celebrate our heritage whilst making a positive difference to our communities and our environment."

As supporters of the Plastic Free GM Pledge, the cup sees Stephensons fulfil its longstanding ambition to launch a cup in a certified plastic-free material that is fully compostable and recyclable with paper and card. The newly released cup is available in 8oz and 12oz sizes, with 16oz soon to follow. It is to be sold into hospitality outlets, venues and event organisers, alongside independent coffee shops, universities, museums and beyond. Stephensons managing director, Henry Stephenson said:

“We came up with the idea of putting the bee mosaic on a disposable cup when we launched the straw back in 2018, but it was only until recently that the technology finally arrived, allowing us to put the bee on a truly sustainable, certified plastic-free cup. We’re proud to see both the cup and the straw as a simple but powerful statement from the city’s hospitality industry, reflecting its collective commitment to sustainability.
As a Manchester-based business since 1868, we understand the pride and identity people associate with the Manchester bee, so to have the bee as a continued symbol of the city’s desire to limit single-use plastics is fantastic.”

The official launch of the cup will take place at the Northern Restaurant and Bar show at Manchester Central on Tuesday 14 March before being distributed across the city.


Businesses with an interest in using the iconic Manchester Bee license on a product or campaign, and supporting We Love MCR in the process, can do so at the Manchester City Council website at this link.


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