Costa Brews Up Nationwide Coffee Cup Recycling Scheme

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Costa has officially launched its new coffee cup recycling scheme in over 2,000 stores across the UK, promising to ensure any paper coffee cup deposited by customers is recycled.

The company, which first announced the move last autumn, said the new recycling collection scheme will form part of a wider push to improve the recyclability of disposable coffee cups and encourage customers to opt for re-usable coffee cups.

The new in-store recycling collection points follow a successful trial at over 45 stores in Manchester. The scheme invites customers to deposit their cups from Costa or any competitor. The cups are then collected in specially designed cup racks that are collected by waste management firm Veolia before being transported to specialist recycling plants.

The move follows last year’s campaign by broadcaster Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which revealed how 2.5 billion coffee cups are sent to landfill each year.

Conventional disposable coffee cups can be recycled, but they have to be separated from standard paper and plastic recycling streams and sent to specialist facilities. As a result, the vast majority of coffee cups are currently sent to landfill, despite many people believing they are recycled.

Costa is now working to ensure coffee cups are collected in a separate waste stream and has predicted the new scheme will result in around 30 million cups being recycled each year.

The company also announced it would incentivise customers to switch to re-usable cups by offering 25 pence off each drink ordered for a re-usable cup, and would introduce two new reusable cup designs from April.

In addition, the chain said it was continuing to explore new ways of “investing in and tackling recyclability”, noting that it was partnering with Sheffield University on a project to explore cup recyclability and working with packaging specialists such as Huhtamaki, Delipac, Frugalpac and reCUP on new cup designs that could help ensure cups can be recycled through standard recycling processes.

“We will shortly begin investigating manufacturing processes and test materials for a potential new takeaway cup,” the company said in a statement.