The City of London Corp., along with Network Rail, coffee chains and some employers, are introducing dedicated coffee cup recycling facilities in offices, shops and streets throughout London in an effort to prevent 5 million cups a year ending up in landfills.
The first 30 businesses with more than 500 employees to sign up as part of the challenge will receive a year’s free membership to collection services provided by Simply Cups. Businesses after that can access discounted rates for collections.
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Simply Cups is currently working with Costa, Pret a Manger and McDonald’s, collecting cups from a few of their stores on a trial basis. Last month, Costa announced it was expanding its coffee cup recycling trial scheme, collecting used cups in its 2,000 stores, which are picked up by waste management company Veolia to be recycled in a specialist plant. Meanwhile, Starbucks is trialling a fully recyclable coffee cup – the Frugalpac – which could eventually divert huge numbers of cups away from landfill.
Ministers have rejected campaigners’ calls for a charge on the 2.5bn disposable coffee cups thrown away each year because they believe coffee shop chains are already taking enough action to cut down waste. Environment minister Thérèse Coffey told the Liberal Democrats, who have urged the government to impose a 5p charge similar to that levied on plastic bags, that industry and chains were already doing enough voluntarily.
Peter Goodwin, director of Simply Cups, said: “It’s fantastic that big businesses are supporting the Square Mile challenge. Large numbers of coffee cups are binned in offices as people arrive at work or pop out for coffees throughout the day.