Widespread welcome for Costa’s recycling ‘revolution’ Factory Suppliers Manufacturers Quotes

Widespread welcome for Costa’s recycling ‘revolution’

Widespread welcome for Costa’s recycling ‘revolution’

Widespread welcome for Costa’s recycling ‘revolution’

Costa Coffee has said it will recycle as many disposable cups as it sells by 2020 in a “cup recycling revolution”.

Under the scheme, 500 million coffee cups a year would be recycled, including some sold by rivals, it said. It will encourage waste collection firms to collect the cups by paying them a supplement of £70 a tonne.

Around 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups, which combine paper and plastic in their inner lining – designed to make them both heat- and leak-proof, are thrown away each year in the UK and 99.75% are not recycled.

Costa said “misconceptions” had arisen about whether a coffee cup could be recycled because of the plastic layer, which had “previously been considered difficult to separate”. However, the chain, which has more than 2,380 branches in the UK, said: “The actual issue lies in collecting the cups once they have been disposed of correctly.”

Costa and other coffee chains do have recycling collection points for cups in their branches, but most takeaway coffees are consumed elsewhere, including in offices and on the street. Under its new scheme, Costa will pay a supplement of £75 for every tonne of cups collected. As a result, waste collectors will get on average £120 for every tonne of cups they collect, up from £50 – a 150% increase. The remaining £5 a tonne will go to a firm that will check the scheme is running as it should.

The idea is to make it “commercially and financially attractive” for waste collectors to put in place infrastructure to handle the cups – from installing collection points in offices and elsewhere, to sorting them and taking them to recycling plants.

Five waste collection firms have been involved in developing the new scheme: Veolia, Biffa, Suez, Grundon and First Mile. Grundon’s sales and marketing director, Bradley Smith, said Costa was helping to create the right conditions for paper cups to become a valuable recycled material.

“This provides increased stability and confidence in the market, which will help waste management companies like Grundon to extend paper cup recycling services to more customers,” he added.

Welcoming the announcement, Gavin Ellis, co-founder of environmental charity Hubbub, said there had been a significant increase in the UK’s recycling facilities over recent months, and “the biggest challenge now is to make sure the used cups are collected and make it to the recycling plants”.

Martin Kersh, executive director, Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA), said: “This is a superb commitment from Costa and demonstrates that paper cups are very much recyclable.  The UK, thanks to the excellent collaboration throughout  the whole supply chain fuelled by the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group, now has a very high level of cup recycling capacity.  Costa is bridging the gap between this capacity and the places where cups are disposed by the public and this initiative makes it easy for coffee drinkers to play their part in greatly increasing paper cup recycling.”

Peter Clayson, general manager of business development and external affairs at DS Smith Recycling, commented: “This comes at a pivotal time, with the coffee retail sector growing and coffee cup recycling still a hot consumer topic, and is great news for recycling in the UK.”

Read more from Clayson on Costa’s announcement and how collaboration across the supply chain will prove invaluable in tackling on-the-go waste, here: Tackling the takeaway coffee cup crisis


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