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    The Cup Recycling Revolution

    Costa Coffee

    The Cup Recycling Revolution is an innovative environmental proposition to facilitate the collection, processing and recycling of disposable coffee cups, becoming cup neutral by the end of 2020.

    What customer problems did you set out to solve?

    We set out with a greater goal to reduce our impact on the environment and care about the communities we serve in. The problem was threefold: Customers want to make environmentally conscious decisions but cannot recycle their cup conveniently at multiple locations on their journey; the UK did not have the infrastructure to recover cups in a single, uncontaminated stream for recycling; and for waste collectors, it isn’t financially attractive to offer the service. Costa’s Cup Recycling Revolution is helping both customers and retailers do the right thing, to be more environmentally sustainable in a convenient way.

    What differentiates your proposition from other offerings in the market?

    Cup Recycling Revolution is changing an industry, which previously had no solution for recycling disposable coffee cups. Working with three paper mills, we proved the UK has the capacity to recycle the 2.5bn paper cups that are disposed of annually.

    Costa was the first brand to identify more money was needed to financially incentivise waste contractors to offer coffee cup recycling. Costa’s scheme, pays waste contractors an additional £70 per tonne of cups, a 140% increase, making it commercially attractive to put in place the infrastructure and processes to collect, sort and transport coffee cups for recycling. While other providers are focused on being environmentally friendly, Costa is transforming an industry, onboarding UK brands and supporting a recycling revolution for customers and for waste management.

    How have you proven that your concept has potential for impact?

    Having launched with five national partners we have now grown the network to 21 waste contractors and within five, have collected and recycled over 32m cups.

    Following success at a large shopping centre, the landlord is rolling out cup recycling across their portfolio. Our collaborative approach has seen Edinburgh airport install cup recycling bins and two of the UK’s largest airports are also collecting cups on-site.

    As a result of this, the scheme is moving to an industry led project with a number of major brands looking to co-fund the scheme and recycle cups across their UK stores.

    Where do you see this proposition in 12 months’ time?

    The scheme will have recycled over 100m cups. There will be a collaborative approach to cup recycling and a network of thousands of recycling points for customers to dispose of their cups responsibly in all coffee retailer stores and every shopping centre, airport and train station in the UK.

    Find out more about The Cup Recycling Revolution here