Cups and
packaging

We're committed to championing circular cups and packaging solutions. 

Serving great tasting coffee and food, sustainably

The packaging we serve our products in is important to us, to you and for the planet. We are committed to prioritising the sustainability of our packaging, innovating with new materials and designing for recyclability and circularity.

 

Our progress and promises

Now

Our takeaway cup is made from 100% plant-based, renewable materials.

Near

We’ll make all our primary packaging reusable or recyclable.

Next

Our single-use product packaging for Costa items will contain an average of at least 50% recycled content.

Cup recycling

Today, coffee cups are not accepted with household recyclables in the UK, they must be collected separately to be sorted and recycled at one of four paper recycling facilities within the UK.

imageAs the UK’s largest coffee shop brand, we wanted to do something to make recycling coffee cups easier. So in 2016, we became the first coffee chain to introduce recycling points in all our stores. We encourage our customers to recycle any paper takeaway cup via one of our 2,700+ 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 its 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.So far, the scheme has helped to recycle over 190 million cups and has resulted in more places like offices, shopping centres, universities, transport hubs and local councils provide 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 collaborating is the best way to increase recycling rates.

We are determined to recycle as many cups as possible, and we will continue to roll out dedicated cup recycling points to all our stores across 2024.

Innovative cup design

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce the environmental impact of our iconic takeaway cups, in November 2021 we changed the inside lining to plant-based plastic.

imageWe also replaced our plastic straws with a paper-based alternative and in Autumn 2023 launched our new recyclable fibre lid for our hot takeaway drinks in stores in Wales and Belgium. Available across small, medium and large drinks sizes, the lids are made from renewable plant-based material and are plastic free. They can be recycled together with the cups in any of our stores.

 

Use a reusable and get rewarded

Our Costa Club members get their free drink faster with a reusable cup. When you use a reusable cup, we'll give you an extra bean - for free! This means, you only need to buy 5 drinks to get your free one on us.* And the best bit? You can use any reusable cup you like (we're not fussy).**

Costa Club graphic of a girl jumping over Costa Coffee reusable cups to her free drink

Testing reusable cup schemes

Costa Coffee BURT reusable cup with a Flat WhiteIn 2022 we ran a trial of our very own returnable cup scheme called ‘BURT’: standing for ‘Borrow, Use, Reuse, Take back’. It was our first trial of an integrated on-the-go returnable cup scheme and ran across 14 stores in Glasgow.

Customers could borrow a returnable cup, use it, reuse it, and take it back to a store for it to be washed before being used again. Not only did this help customers who may have left their own cup at home or didn’t want to carry a reusable cup around all day, it also helped us learn more about how a scheme can work for our customers and baristas in our stores.

Next, we're taking a closer look at how we can build upon and improve this experience, helping us on our journey to deliver an effective returnable cup scheme at scale. Watch this space.

Refill Logo

Refill

We're also signed up to the brilliant Refill campaign, which means encouraging people to use reusable water bottles instead of buying single use plastic ones by offering free refills in all our UK stores. We're proud to have been the first big business to join Refill in 2018, creating over 2,000 Refill stations and giving everyone the opportunity to make more sustainable choices. Look out for the Refill logo in our store windows. 

Costa Coffee Dolce Gusto Pods

Coffee pod recycling

Our recycling efforts don’t stop at our cups – we also recycle the Costa Coffee pods that you enjoy at home. Whether you drink our Nespresso® or Dolce Gusto® compatible pods, you can pick up a recycling bag from one of our participating stores. Just fill it with your used pods and return it to us in store – we’ll sort out the rest.

Climate

Discover the steps we're taking to hit our climate targets to ensure we reach Net Zero by 2040 and help protect the planet.

Costa Coffee store light bulbs and cups

**See here for full information on using a reusable cup in our stores.