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Big cafe brands join cup recycling drive

Public concern about how few single-use coffee cups are being recycled has prompted an industry agreement to “significantly increase” paper cup recovery and recycling rates by 2020.

The Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) and Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG) have launched a manifesto with more than 30 signatories, representing each stage of the supply chain from raw material suppliers, manufacturers, retailers to waste and recovery operators and reprocessors.

High street brands include Caffe Nero, Costa, Greggs, Pret a Manger and Starbucks (full list below).

Mark Pawsey, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Packaging, said: “I’m encouraged to see industry working so closely together to find and implement solutions for recovering and recycling paper cups.”

The manifesto, launched in Westminster, is a voluntary commitment funded by its members. A work programme will be run by an executive board of elected members and delegated working groups.

The manifesto pledges that: “The paper cup supply chain agrees to work together to ensure paper cups are designed, used, disposed of and collected to maximise the opportunities for recycling by further investment and funding of recycling, disposal and collection projects.”

Asked by MRW if there were specific targets, Martin Kersh, executive director of the FPA said: “It’s difficult to put figures against the campaign objectives at this stage because so much of the outcome depends on consumer behaviour. The industry has come together to decide on the best way forward and is working hard to make the facilities and infrastructure available to significantly increase recovery and recycling rates in a way that makes economic sense.”

Publication of the manifesto follows summit meetings in April and May, with the delivery plan to be further finalised during the summer. The issue of paper cup recycling was brought to the public’s attention in March through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ’War On Waste’ initiative and TV programmes.

Neil Whittall, PCRRG chair, said: “It is recognised that it is only through an increased industry collaboration that the pace of change can be increased to meet the challenge that has been set out. We are grateful for the recognition and support that Defra has given the project, and to all the signatories who will make this happen.”

Packaging supplier DS Smith, one of the signatories, said waxed and polyethylene-lined paper coffee cups were not an ideal feedstock and are treated as a contaminant in the company’s mills because the cups have to spend longer in pulpers to break down the paper fibres for recycling compared with mono-material recyclable paper and card.

Manifesto signatories

4 Aces


Benders Paper Cups

Bio bean

British Plastics Association

British Soft Drinks Association

Bunzl Catering Supplies

Caffe Nero

Clean Up Britain


Costa/ Whitbread Group

Confederation of Paper Industries

James Cropper

Dart Products Europe

DS Smith

First Mile

Foodservice Packaging Association



Havi Global Solutions

Huhtamaki UK


Keep Britain Tidy

Keep Scotland Beautiful

Kent Resource Partnership


Marks and Spencer

Maxabel International

McDonald’s Restaurants

Moto Hospitality


The Packaging Federation

The Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group

Pelican Rouge Coffee Solutions

Pret a Manger

Seda UK

South Cambridgeshire DC and Cambridge City Council

Starbucks Coffee Company

Stora Enso

University of Sheffield Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre



Waitrose/John Lewis Partnership

Yum! Brands/KFC

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