Coffee Shop Innovation Expo logo

26 & 27 NOV 2019

ExCeL LONDON

A Cup Recycling Revolution Is Taking Place At Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee has revealed it will recycle as many disposable cups as it sells by the year 2020 as part of their cup recycling revolution. Under this scheme, the UK’s biggest coffee chain - which has more than 2,380 branches in the UK - would recycle 500 million coffee cups each year. 

In the UK, around 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away each year, and only 0.25% of these cups are recycled! So it shouldn’t be that shocking that environmental campaigners are delighted with Costa’s scheme. 

Paul Dominic, Costa managing director, commented on the chain’s new scheme, he said: “By 2020, we will be a cup-neutral company, as we will be recycling as many cups as we put into the system.”

Environment Minister Therese Coffey congratulated Costa on taking a "significant step to help coffee lovers do the right thing and increase recycling".

Costa also debunked any misconceptions about whether coffee cups could be recycled due to their inner plastic layer, which is supposedly is difficult to separate. However, the chain said that the actual problem is how the cups are collected once they have been disposed of. 

Whilst Costa and other coffee chains do have recycling collection points for cups within their stores; this doesn’t really tackle to recycling issue as the majority of takeaway coffees are consumed outside of their branches.

Waste collection firms will be encouraged to collect these cups, by Costa offering to pay them a supplement of £70 per tonne, plus £5 per tonne to to a firm that will check the scheme is running as it should.

This means that waste collectors will receive around £120 for every tonne of cups collected which is a £150% increase from the amount they would usually receive. 

This increase will be extremely alluring to many waste collectors, which is what Costa was trying to achieve. They wanted to make coffee cup collection appear both commercially and financially attractive for waste collectors to put in place an infrastructure to handle the cups.