We understand that coffee cups pose an industry-wide problem as the plastic lining in the cup means they cannot be thrown into standard mixed recycling bins. Instead, cups must be collected separately to be recycled at any four recycling facilities within the UK.
As the UK’s largest coffee shop brand, we wanted to do something to address this recycling challenge. In 2016, we became the first coffee chain to introduce recycling points in all our stores. By doing so, we encouraged customers to recycle any paper takeaway cup via one of our 2,600+ stores up and down the country. And we’re not precious about the brand of disposable cup you bring to us either. Even if it’s not a Costa Coffee branded cup, we’ll take care of it and ensure it's recycled.
Not satisfied with stopping there, just two years later we partnered with Valpak (an independent waste management service company) to launch the UK’s National Cup Recycling Scheme. Through this scheme, we pay waste collectors an incentive for every tonne of cups they collect, which helps to fund the right infrastructure and processes for cups to be recovered for recycling.
We have since recycled over 155 million cups via the scheme and have seen more places like offices, shopping centres, universities, transport hubs and local councils providing cup recycling facilities. We are also thrilled that the scheme is now supported by more of the UK’s leading coffee brands, as we know that working in collaboration is the best way to increase recycling rates.