Coffee Cup Challenge

City of London launches challenge to boost coffee cup recycling

The City of London Corporation, in conjunction with Network Rail, coffee chains and some employers, are introducing dedicated coffee cup recycling facilities in offices, shops and streets.

Wendy Mead, chair of the corporation’s environment committee, said the aim of the Square Mile challenge was to recycle half a million cups in April, adding that the City “Will be the first area in the UK to undertake such a significant commitment” to recycling.

Every day in the UK, up to 7m coffee cups are thrown away, with less than 1% of these cups thought to be recycled. The main challenge to date has been the plastic film lining the paper cups, which means they are rarely recyclable.

The first 30 businesses with more than 500 employees to sign up to the Square Mile challenge will receive a year’s free membership to collection services provided by Simply Cups, while all other businesses involved can access discounted rates for collections. The coffee cups collected can be remade into a range of items, from pencils to park benches, which will be donated to local community projects and schools.

The Simply Cups service would normally costs companies a £1,000 per annum membership fee and a £1.50 charge per bag of empty cups collected. As most waste collection companies will not take disposable cups as recycling they would need to go in a general waste bag. For comparison Amey are currently charging customers on average £1.72 per bag of general waste. For the campaign Simply Cups are proposing to reduce their bag charge to £1.20 per bag and reduce the membership to £250 per annum for two years.

Let's hope it is a great success!