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Cup recovery scheme widens materials collected

Simply Cups, the only cup recovery and recycling scheme in the UK, has added five more waste materials to its service: beverage cartons, paper towels, food service PP/PS packaging, food service non-bottle PET and coffee grounds.

The scheme, a partnership between Closed Loop Environmental Solutions and Simply Waste Solutions, was launched in August 2014 in a bid to address the 2.5 billion paper cups used, then disposed of, each year in the UK. This figure is expected to grow, particulary as the coffee shop sector continues to expand.

Peter Goodwin, director at Closed Loop Environmental Solutions (pictured, right, with James Capel, managing director of Simply Waste Solutions), said: “The feedback that we have received during the course of the year has convinced us that that the hospitality sector is now crying out for a multi-faceted materials recovery programme that breaks down dry mixed recycling even further, thereby extracting even greater value, while helping businesses to move further up the waste hierarchy.”

Goodwin told the scheme’s first update meeting that the focus in the next year will include:

  • growing volumes of post-consumer material, seeking to improve and maintain quality
  • focusing on the consistency of supply to reprocessors
  • increasing the gate fee
  • reducing the costs for all

Currently, the cost for collecting and processing cups is about the same as that for general waste disposal. Cups collected are graded, shredded and baled before being transported to reprocessors. By increasing the volume and types of materials collected, the aim is to make the scheme more commercially viable.

Goodwin unveiled a Closed Loop Roadmap for the scheme, setting out a long-term vision to increase the volumes collected, create local markets and increase surety of supply which would lead to investment in infrastructure.

He said: “There will come a tipping point where we will have continued source segregation or a MRF operator will invest in machinery [to segregate cups].”

A proposal to fund paper cup recycling and the required reprocessing infrastructure is a scheme whereby a percentage of the money paid for cups is diverted to a Closed Loop fund for the purpose.

Three more members have joined the Simply Cups scheme, bringing the total to 17. Bunzl Catering Supplies, Benders Paper Cups and the British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS) join existing scheme members from across the supply chain, including Costa Coffee, John Lewis Partnership, Baxter Storey, 4 Aces and James Cropper.

Bunzl Catering Supplies is a distributor of disposables, packaging and hygiene solutions into the UK hospitality industry, while Benders Paper Cups is a manufacturer and supplier of paper hot cups and lids. BASIS promotes sustainable development principles throughout the sporting community.

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