Costa coffee has made a major commitment to tackle the growing number of takeaway coffee cups clogging up landfill sites around the globe.
The UK chain has committed to recycling half a billion takeaway cups a year - the same volume of cups it puts onto the market - by paying waste collectors to pick up cups from stores and send them to specialist recycling plants.
This year it aims to recycle 100 million cups, gradually building up to 500 million a year by 2020. The brand estimates it distributes 500 million takeaway cups to customers each year - so it will essentially be recycling all of its cups.
It’s thought we throw away 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups as a nation each year. They can be recycled but must be collected correctly and sent to the right recycling plants - meaning it doesn’t always happen.
Today’s announcement will see Costa pay £70 to waste collectors per tonne of cups collected. The cups will then be distributed to three specialist paper mills which can recycle them: James Cropper, ACE UK and DS Smith.
Dominic Paul, managing director for Costa, said: “Costa is putting its money where its mouth is to find an immediate solution to increasing the volume of takeaway coffee cups being recycled in the UK. It also dispels the myth that coffee cups can’t be recycled.”
Paul added: “Following today’s announcement up to 100 million cups will be recycled this year alone and if the nation’s other coffee chains sign up, there is no reason why all takeaway cups could not be recycled by as early as 2020.
“At Costa we want to guarantee our customers that if they throw their cup into the right recycling bin it will get recycled, and today’s announcement is a major step towards that happening. We have set our own target to recycle the same volume of takeaway cups we use every year and call on other cup retailers to join and help to build a dynamic market for takeaway coffee cup recycling.”
The coffee chain is also working with a number of designers and cup manufacturers to see how they can minimise and possibly even eliminate the use of plastic in takeaway cups. It also offers a 25p discount to all customers that use a reusable cup and is set to remove all plastic straws from its stores.