Costa Coffee pledges to recycle half a billion disposable cups a year
18th April 2018 | Recycling
The UK’s largest coffee retailer, Costa Coffee, has committed to recycling half a billion coffee cups a year by 2020 in a landmark act to tackle plastic waste. The pledge, which amounts to recycling the same volume of cups it puts onto the market, would take a significant chunk out of the 2.5 billion takeaway cups thrown away across the country every year.
Despite often being marked as recyclable, the vast majority of paper coffee cups end up on landfill or being incinerated due to the plastic lining used to make them waterproof. By paying waste collectors to take coffee cups to specialist facilities, Costa hope to massively increase the rate at which cups are recycled.
Ultimately, all a customer will need to do to ensure their cup avoids landfill is throw into a standard recycling bin.
The move is the most ambitious so far by a major coffee chain since the start of the Independent’s Cut The Cup Waste campaign. Launched following the Environmental Audit Committee’s report recommending ministers take drastic action to tackle coffee cup waste, the campaign has pushed for action from governments and businesses and promoted potential solutions.
“The Independent’s campaign has highlighted the importance of finding a solution to this issue,” Costa managing director Dominic Paul told The Independent.
Starbucks has pledged £7m to develop a “fully recyclable cup” following pressure from campaigners, while Waitrose has pledged to phase out disposable coffee cups from its stores by autumn. But as Peter Good win – co-director of recycling scheme Simply Cups – told The Independent, the facilities already exist to recycle disposable coffee cups.
“There is plenty of infrastructure that could take a hell of a lot more cups than are currently being recovered,” he said. There are currently three UK paper mills that can deal with cups – James Cropper, ACE UK and DS Smith – that have the combined capacity to recycle more than 4.5 billion takeaway cups.
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