The rollout will see Costa collect and recycle disposable coffee cups in an attempt to help tackle the estimated 2.5bn cups that are sent to landfill each year.
Costa said it had already trialled in-store recycling points in 45 outlets, predicting that a national rollout would allow it to collect around 30m cups a year. The cups will then be collected by Veolia and transported to a specialist recycling plant.
“Our research in Manchester and London shows around 40 cups per day are left in stores, which means we have the potential to recycle 30 million Costa cups a year”
“As the UK’s largest coffee shop brand, we want to make it as easy as possible for the public to recycle their used coffee cups,” said Jason Cotta, the managing director of Costa UK and Ireland, in a statement.
“Our research in Manchester and London shows around 40 cups per day are left in stores, which means we have the potential to recycle 30 million Costa cups a year. What’s more, the fact that we will accept competitors’ cups means we could significantly increase that figure.
“We are committed to taking a lead and, like many others, we are working hard to find a cup that can be recycled anywhere. Whilst there is more work to do in partnership with the wider industry, we are excited to see the impact our new in-store recycling offer will have and hope it is embraced by everyone – by our customers and by those who buy their coffee elsewhere.”
Commenting on the announcement Chris Stemman, executive director of the British Coffee Association, said: “Paper coffee cups and the issue of being able to recycle them is a primary focus for the UK coffee industry. There are a number of different approaches that have been looked at and undertaken by the industry including new materials for cups, new waste collection streams, and encouraging consumers to proactively recycle these materials. This latest move from Costa is a big step forward for sustainability in the UK coffee industry.”
“This latest move from Costa is a big step forward for sustainability in the UK coffee industry.”
Coffee Cup Controversy
National media reports have recently criticised high street coffee chains for misleading the public about how many paper cups they recycle, after it emerged earlier this year that fewer than one in 400 high street coffee chain paper cups are actually recycled.
Fewer than 3m were recycled last year in the UK, according to Simply Cups, which operates Britain’s only paper cup recycling service.
Peter Goodwin, co-founder of Simply Cups, said that it was apparent the application of the recycling symbol on a product (from whatever industry) bears no guarantee that a product – whilst recyclable – is actually going to be recycled.
During a House of Commons session, the then Resources Minister, Rory Stewart, admitted there is a “huge problem” and suggested that the answer could be in a similar tax on paper cups to that of plastic bags.
Almost immediately, however, Defra issued a statement saying it had no plans to create “disposable Cup Tax”.
CIWM Journal Online asked visitors to the site in an online poll whether a cup levy should be created. The majority of respondents (70%) were of the opinion a levy should be created, while 30% were against the idea.
Recently, Resources Minister Therese Coffey added her voice to the debate to reiterate Defra’s stance that a paper cup level isn’t needed.
Starbucks has also agreed to a UK trial of a revolutionary new recyclable paper cup.