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Coffee-on-the-go sector signs up to recycling effort

bring bank side by side 300

Organisations across the polyethylene-lined paper cup supply chain have signed an agreement with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK) to accelerate UK recycling.

Building on ACE UK’s experience running the beverage carton industry’s recycling programme, 14 companies will fund an activity programme to give more people access to recycling for paper cups.

The companies signed up to the agreement are: Benders Paper Cups, Bunzl Catering Supplies, Caffe Nero, Costa Coffee, Dart Products Europe, Greggs, Huhtamaki, International Paper, McDonald’s UK, Nestlé, Pret A Manger, Seda Group, Starbucks, and Stora Enso.

From 1 January 2018 all ACE UK bring banks will accept paper cups for recycling, delivering an additional 382 recycling points in 97 UK local authorities. A further 33 points in eight others are scheduled during the next phase.

Cups will be processed at ACE UK’s recycling facility in Halifax.

Currently 66% of local authorities collect beverage cartons at kerbside, in addition to those that collect through bring banks, and it is hoped to achieve similar levels of coverage for cups.

Richard Hands, chief executive, ACE UK, said: “The paper cup industry is facing very similar recycling challenges to the ones the beverage carton industry faced when we started our programme ten years ago.

“Whilst our primary focus will remain on increasing beverage carton recycling, we believe our expertise, experience and existing relationships can help the paper cup industry create a step change in cup recycling. While it is early days, we have a clear measured plan agreed and expect to see significant progress in cup recycling over the next two years and beyond.”

The agreement builds on activities implemented and supported during the past year by the companies involved, such as in-store cup recycling, single site and pilot recycling projects including One More Shot and the Square Mile Challenge.

Neil Whittall, global category director of speciality coffee at Huhtamaki UK and chair of the Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group, said: “Whilst paper cups are fully recyclable, the industry recognises that many are not being recycled because of a lack of collection facilities. Companies across the industry have been working to address this barrier and increase cup recycling.

“Generating greater volumes of cups for recycling will create a market for the material, making cups more attractive to waste management companies and creating the potential for more schemes to be introduced to collect cups from a much wider range of locations such as offices and high street locations.”

Mike Turner, managing director, International Paper Foodservice Europe and chair of European packaging trade body Pack2Go, added: “This collaborative agreement, funded entirely by the signatories, is a clear demonstration of the commitment of these organisations, from across the paper cup supply chain, to address the barriers to recycling and deliver practical solutions to maximise recycling of paper cups.”

A Parliamentary hearing into the huge waste of disposable coffee cups heard from the founder of Frugalpac, which claims to make fully recyclable coffee cups. Martin Myerscough told the Environmental Audit Committee the company was completing its first high-speed machine that would make fully recyclable cups at the same speed and for the same price as the existing ones. “We decided it was the cup that was the problem, not the recycling system. So we have designed our cup so it can go in any bin and be recycled in any mill.”


  • A version of this article appeared on the website of our sister title Packaging News

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