Cup, cup and away


A new grant fund of between £50,000 – £100,000 has been launched by Hubbub and coffee giant Starbucks seeking to kickstart paper cup recycling activities across the UK. Here, Hubbub CEO and founder Trewin Restorick looks at the barriers to cup recycling.



#TheCupFund will provide grant funding of between £50,000 – £100,000 to projects that have ambitious plans to boost the number of paper cups recycled. An independent panel including representatives from CIWM and LARAC will identify the winning projects.

The fund is possible thanks to the 5p charge on disposable coffee cups voluntarily introduced by Starbucks across all their outlets.  The cup charge has doubled the number of people using reusable cups and the fund will now make it easier to recycle disposable cups. 

Hubbub decided to launch the fund with Starbuck’s support as a way of overcoming the remaining barriers to widespread paper cup recycling in the UK. These barriers are a lack of available funding for recycling infrastructure and a shortage of investment for high quality communication campaigns to persuade the public to recycle.

There are now three UK mills that can recycle paper cups giving sufficient capacity to handle all the disposable cups that are currently used. 

The investment will build on a number of significant new developments over the past couple of years. There are now three UK mills that can recycle paper cups giving sufficient capacity to handle all the disposable cups that are currently used. 

Hubbub has been liaising with all three mills to ensure that they are supportive of the fund ambitions and are able to handle the increased capacity that will be generated.

The economics of cup recycling has also been transformed with the industry offering to pay waste collection firms a supplement of £70 per tonne for cups that they collect.  Theoretically this should make cup recycling cost effective once the infrastructure costs have been met and the public is engaged.

In addition to providing grant funding, Hubbub will be sharing experiences gathered through running the #SquareMileChallenge campaign in the heart of London and the #LeedsByExample campaign which is experimenting with different approaches to boost recycling on the High Street. 

The results of the Leeds campaign are being independently evaluated and will be publicly shared at an event in the House of Commons on the 9 May.

Through these campaigns, Hubbub will be able to share what approaches have been most successful in engaging the public and which types of bins have proved most effective.  

Discounts have been agreed with a number of these bin manufacturers helping to make the most of the grant funding available. Hubbub is hoping that the grant fund will receive ambitions applications from a range of organisations including local authorities, recycling companies, property owners and social enterprises. 

Full details of the grant fund are available here


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