Climate Action

Costa Coffee introduces cup recycling scheme

UK’s largest coffee chain, Costa Coffee, is set to launch a recycling scheme to ensure as many takeaway cups are recycled as possible.

  • 28 November 2016
  • William Brittlebank

UK’s largest coffee chain, Costa Coffee, is set to launch a recycling scheme to ensure as many takeaway cups are recycled as possible.

To reduce the millions of disposable cups that end up in landfill, Costa customers will be encouraged to leave or return them to recycling points in all Costa stores.

Costa’s waste partner, Veolia, will then transport the cups to specialist waste processing plants which have the capacity to recycle takeaway coffee cups.

The chain will not just accept their own cups but also waste cups from any other competitor brand.

This could result in the recycling of as many as 30 million cups per year from Costa alone.

Following a successful trial in more than 45 stores across London and Manchester, Costa is introducing the recycling racks in all 2,000-plus stores at the end of January.

The trial was introduced following the news that only 1 in 400 coffee cups in the UK are recycled.

Jason Cotta, Managing Director of Costa UK and Ireland, said: “As the UK’s largest coffee shop brand, we want to make it as easy as possible for the public to recycle their used coffee cups.”

He added: “Our research in Manchester and London shows around 40 cups per day are left in stores, which means we have the potential to recycle 30m Costa cups a year. What’s more, the fact that we will accept competitors’ cups means we could significantly increase that figure.”

Costa is also funding research at Sheffield University into cup recyclability and currently donates 25p to litter charities every time a customer uses a reusable cup in a Costa store.

Cotta continued: “We are committed to taking a lead and, like many others, we are working hard to find a cup that can be recycled anywhere. Whilst there is more work to do in partnership with the wider industry, we are excited to see the impact our new in-store recycling offer will have and hope it is embraced by everyone – by our customers and by those who buy their coffee elsewhere.”

Chris Stemman, Executive Director of the British Coffee Association, says: “Paper coffee cups and the issue of being able to recycle them is a primary focus for the UK coffee industry. There are a number of different approaches that have been looked at and undertaken by the industry including new materials for cups, new waste collection streams, and encouraging consumers to proactively recycle these materials. This latest move from Costa is a big step forward for sustainability in the UK coffee industry.”