The move by both chains follows the media highlighting of coffee cup waste and is designed to reduce the millions of used disposable cups that end up in landfill.
Both Costa’s recycling racks and Starbuck’s paper cup recycling bins can be used not only for the respective chain’s cups but also any other brand.
Costa’s launch follows a successful trial in more than 45 stores across London and Manchester, Costa is rolling out the recycling racks in all 2,000-plus stores at the end of January with a clear message that “we recycle any paper takeaway cup, no matter what brand”.
Starbucks follows the success of a back of house trial that it has been running in partnership with Veolia, since last spring. In January 2017, an initial 21 Starbucks stores in Central and West London will feature a cup bin, designed to help the emptying, stacking and collection of paper cups for effective recycling.
In both schemes the cups can be directly disposed of into the store’s waste collection and recycled by theVeolia.
It was revealed earlier this year that only 1 in 400 coffee cups are recycled in the UK because they are made of a difficult-to-recycle mix of paper and plastic. That prompted calls for a charge on takeaway cups by prominent figures including chef and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
“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,” said Jason Cotta, the managing director of Costa UK and Ireland. “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.”
Simon Redfern, vice president communications for Starbucks Europe said: “This is a complex but important issue across the industry. While we continue to test new paper cup innovations that meet our safety standards, we can address this issue in two ways; reducing the number of paper cups used by offering our long-standing 25p reusable cup discount incentive and finding new ways to help customers recycle their paper cups.
“Our message to customers is: please bring in your reusable cup and enjoy a 25p discount – or if you’re enjoying a coffee in a paper cup in Central and West London please bring it into our stores and help us test our new cup bins because the more you support these initiatives, the more we’ll learn.”
Costa is 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.
Starbucks business customers can already recycle their paper cups via a ‘post-back’ cup care scheme offered by Veolia.
In response to the chains’ announcements, Chris Stemman, executive director, British Coffee Association, told Packaging News: “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. The latest moves from both Starbucks and Costa are a big step forward for sustainability in the UK coffee industry.”
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