Cups and
packaging

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

Serving great tasting coffee and food, sustainably

imageThe packaging we serve our products in is really important to us, to you, and for the planet. That’s why we will continue to prioritise the sustainability of our packaging, including our takeaway cups, lids, cans and pods.

Wherever possible we will create circular solutions, considering the entire lifecycle of each piece of packaging – reducing waste, boosting recycling, and using recycled material – moving towards reuse as our ultimate goal.

 

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.

Reusables

image We're dedicated to increasing recycling, but we ultimately believe that encouraging reuse is the best way forward for a more sustainable future.

As part of our Costa Club Loyalty scheme, every time you buy a barista made drink in a reusable cup we’ll give you an extra bean.* This means after only four drinks in a reusable cup, you’ll earn one for free! Learn more about the Costa Club and sign up here.

And, to help encourage our customers to carry a cup with them, our reusable cups come in lots of different sizes and colours – whatever your style, there’s something to suit everyone.

We also introduced new in-store glassware for our iced drinks in 2018, which saved around 8 million plastic cups in the first 6 months alone.

Testing reusable cup schemes

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

Customers could borrow a reusable 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 reusable cup scheme at scale. Watch this space.

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. 

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In 2016, we became the first coffee chain to introduce recycling points in all our stores

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, rather than an oil-based plastic. The new cups have a 26% lower carbon footprint than a standard takeaway cup when recycled, which you can do at any Costa Coffee store nationwide – just hand them over to your barista or pop them in a cup recycling bin.

imageWe also replaced our plastic straws with a paper-based alternative and in Spring 2022 launched a 150-store trial of a new recyclable fibre lid for our hot takeaway drinks. Available across small, medium and large drinks sizes, the lids are made from renewable plant-based material and have up to 50% lower carbon footprint than the current polystyrene plastic version. 

Check below, to see more of the progress we've made with our packaging already.

Our new coffee cup. 5 per cent renewable lining made from plants 95 per cent sustainably sourced wood fibre. Recycle your cup at any of our stores across the UK.Our red waffle wrap. Made from sustainably sourced wood fibre, it provides insulation so our coffee cups don't need a cardboard sleeve.Our cold cup. 60 per cent recycled plastic. 40 per cent more work to do. Recyle your cold cup in any mixed recycling bin. Our ready to drink cans. 75 per cent recycled aluminium. 25 per cent more to do. Recycle your can in any mixed recycling bin.

Cup recycling

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 of the four recycling facilities within the UK.

imageAs 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. That's why we encouraged 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 165 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 working in collaboration 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 as many of our stores as possible. 

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.