U.K. Paper Cup Recycling Program Kicks Off with High Profile Members

The official launch event of a paper cup recycling program in London, U.K., was held this past week at Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium. The event saw the addition of the U.K.’s largest coffee shop chain, Costa, as its latest member, according to a new report in Waste Management World (WMW) magazine.

SIMPLY CUPS, a partnership formed between Closed Loop Environmental Services and Simply Waste Solutions, has been running since the beginning of August, and is intended to help address the burgeoning issue of how to recycle the 2.5 billion paper cups used in the U.K. each year. Consumption has risen as paper cups have become increasingly popular in the eyes of consumers due to their greater biodegradability and potential recyclability over plastic cups.
In an interview with WMW, Nick Cliff, marketing manager at Closed Loop, explained that the company had been following various trends such as the opening of paper producer James Cropper’s paper cup recycling facility and ACE-UK’s beverage carton recycling plant.
James Capel, managing director of Simply Waste Services told WMW that "Closed Loop Environmental Solutions is adept at establishing markets for recyclable material and matching that material to available infrastructure. Simply Waste Solutions, being a waste management company, is in a position to cost effectively collect what are relatively small volumes of material and send that into the available infrastructure after Closed Loop has secured the availability of those facilities," he added.
According to Capel, Simply Waste’s involvement began around six months ago at a Paper Cup Recovery Group meeting, where it became clear that one of the missing links in the supply chain was a waste management company that was able to collect the cups at a competitive price.
With all of the pieces in place, and following an application for funding that was rejected for "a number of conflicting reasons," the two companies decided to go it alone. But once out of the starting blocks, the scheme began to attract a number of high profile founding members, including national retailer John Lewis Partnership’s catering division and facilities management companies, Baxter Storey, and ISS Facility Services.
Cup manufacturers Huhtamaki, Finland, and Solo Cup Europe also signed up, as did a number of prominent industry associations and environmental charities including WRAP, the Automated Vending Association and Keep Britain Tidy. The latest member, Costa, has concession outlets located at corporate offices, universities, and transport hubs.
But it’s not just in recycling used cups that Costa sees an opportunity to boost the environmental credentials of its paper cups, it’s also looking at ways in which it can help its customers use less. "Alongside our membership of SIMPLY CUPS, we have also recently launched a new cup designed to reduce the apparent temperature of the exterior of the cup by evenly distributing the heat around the cup," explained Rosevear. "This means that the customers’ hands do not get too hot when holding a single cup, eliminating the need for an additional sleeve or double cupping," he continued.