VEOLIA wakes us up to coffee cup recycling

This follows successful trials with the likes of Costa Coffee and Starbucks chains and research that suggests only 1 in 400 cups in the UK are recycled because of difficult paper and plastic mix. 

With total investment approaching £3million, Veolia has designed a purpose-built unit for cafes, offices, shops and stations, that allows customers and staff to stack the cups on a rack to drain, before bulk batches are collected by the company or returned using a post back service.

Special processing plants will then deal with the waste. 

Draining the cups and capturing them before they enter the general waste stream ensures less contamination which has previously been the biggest challenge facing recycling initiatives, according to Veolia.

Material can be reprocessed into new products, including new cup holders, egg boxes and home insulation material.

Veolia UK and Ireland chief technology and innovation officer Richard Kirkman said: “This recycling solution is the first scalable UK-wide scheme that addresses all aspects of the supply chain, from the moment you finish sipping your coffee right through to processing the fibres which can be used for high grade applications.”

The bins will be available to Veolia’s existing customers and new ones on a rental basis calculated by volume, but with the average cost for a bin around 50p a day and less than 1p per cup for collection.  

The UK’s fondness for drinks-to-go means French-owned Veolia group plans only to roll it out here and not elsewhere in Europe.

Latest YouGov research show 52 per cent of consumers buying takeaway hot drinks dispose of them at work.   

Veolia UK and Ireland vice president Estelle Brachlianoff commented: “When it comes to coffee cups we want to encourage a mass collaboration between designers, manufacturers, vendors and consumers. We all have our part to play.”

For  more details visit www.veolia.co.uk or call 0345 606 0460

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