7th August 2018

Veolia sets target of recycling 120m coffee cups

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Waste management company Veolia has announced that it will collect 120 million coffee cups for recycling in 2019 – a 300% per cent increase on last year.

It follows a successful 12 month-trial of an in-store recycling service at Starbucks, McDonald’s and Caffè Nero outlets in the UK.
Under the system, coffee cups are segregated in store to prevent contamination, ensuring a smoother, more effective recycling process.
Veolia is supporting Costa in its goal to recycle as many disposable cups as it sells by 2020. For every tonne collected for recycling, Costa provides a financial supplement. This helps to subsidise further collections and recycling initiatives.

In addition, Veolia is working with Westminster city council and the Heart of London Business Alliance to make recycling of coffee cups more convenient in the capital. Street sweepers and dedicated bins in central London have enabled the collection of 100,000 coffee cups that may otherwise have been littered or included in general waste streams.

“With a storm rightly brewing over disposable coffee cups in recent months, Veolia has responded by intensifying its efforts across the country to collect, sort and recycle millions of coffee cups which would otherwise be discarded. Our in-store and on the go solutions have real potential to capture every coffee cup in the country,” said Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer at Veolia.

“We’re heading in the right direction, but there is still plenty more to do, with millions of disposable cups still not entering recycling streams. To continue this progress, more organisations need to provide in-store solutions and more consumers to use them.”
It was revealed this year that 2.5 billion coffee cups were thrown away annually in the UK, almost none of which were recycled because of their plastic lining.

The government is considering a “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups, while Starbucks started charging 5p for disposable cups in 35 London stores as part of a trial.

In April, Waitrose announced that it was to stop using disposable coffee cups to prevent 52 million cups a year entering landfill.