By Brian Collett — Costa, Britain’s largest coffee shop chain, has begun a scheme to recycle all its used takeaway cups. The company expects at least 30 million cups will be processed every year.
The company trialled the scheme in London and Manchester last year and has now introduced it in all UK Costa coffee shops, numbering more than 2,000.
In addition, Costa is accepting takeaway cups that come from other coffee shops.
Costa’s project partner Veolia, the French transnational waste recovery specialist, will recycle the cups.
Environmentalists raised concerns earlier when it was revealed that only one in every 400 used cups was recycled in the UK because the mix of paper and plastic made the process difficult. Campaigners including the celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall even called for a charge on takeaway cups.
Jason Cotta, Costa’s UK and Ireland managing director, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for the public to recycle their used coffee cups.
“Our research in Manchester and London shows around 40 cups per day are left in stores, which means we have the potential to recycle 30 million Costa cups a year. What’s more, the fact that we will accept competitors’ cups means we could significantly increase that figure.
“This will not be a trial. This is going to be business as usual.”
At the same time Costa is funding research at Sheffield University into cup recycling, partly to take account of any mix with other recyclable materials, and is donating 25p to litter charities every time a customer drinks from a reusable cup in its coffee shops.
Starbucks, Costa’s biggest rival in the UK, is now trialling a recyclable cup, and the environment charity Hubbub is testing a paper cup recycling bin scheme in Manchester, supported by Caffé Nero, Costa, Greggs, KFC, McDonald’s, Nestlé and Pret A Manger. The Hubbub scheme is expected to roll out nationwide in April.