Costa Coffee has announced a commitment to recycle as many takeaway cups as it distributes – totalling around 500 million each year by 2020.
The high-street coffee brand introduced an in-store recycling scheme last year and says it has recycled 14 million cups since February 2017, but there's still a landfill mountain to climb: the UK gets through 2.5 billion takeaway coffee every year and most of them get thrown away. Costa sells about a fifth of these, so this week's pledge could make a big difference.
The issue is that while takeaway drinks cups are technically recyclable, only three paper mills in the UK actually have the tech to manage the combination of plastic and paper that makes up standard cups. To incentivise more waste collectors to invest in the right infrastructure and kit, Costa says it will pay a supplement of £70 for every tonne of cups collected, raising the value from an average of £50 to £120.
"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," comments Dominic Paul, Managing Director, Costa.
"It also dispels the myth that coffee cups can't be recycled!
"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."