City of London recycling challenge launched

In an attempt to prevent coffee cups ending up in landfill, a scheme to boost disposable coffee cup recycling has been launched in the City of London.

It is reported that up to seven million coffee cups are thrown away each day in the UK, with less than one per cent of them thought to be recycled. Furthermore, approximately five million cups from the Square Mile end up in landfill every year, causing the City of London Corporation to launch a Square Mile challenge.

The first 30 businesses with more than 500 employees to sign up to the Square Mile challenge will receive a year’s free membership to collection services provided by Simply Cups. The collected coffee cups can then be remade into new recycled items that will freely donated to local schools and community projects. All other businesses involved can access discounted rates for collections.

A similar scheme was held last year in Manchester, albeit on a smaller scale. Environmental charity Hubbub saw 20,000 cups be recycled from one street over three months, thanks to the project.

Problematically, coffee cups, although recyclable, cannot be recycle through normal household or paper recycling. Standard recycling cannot separate the paper and plastic film that lines the cardboard sleeve that insulates coffee cups.

Some places, like Costa and McDonalds, are offering dedicated recycling schemes within their stores. Last month, coffee shop Costa, who are working in conjunction on the Square Mile challenge project, announced it was expanding its coffee cup recycling trial scheme, collecting used cups in its 2,000 stores. Starbucks are also trialling a recycling scheme to divert huge numbers of cups away from landfill.