Skip to Main Content
Home News Costa Coffee Announces Commitment to Recycle half a Billion Takeaway Cups a Year

The UK’s favourite coffee shop will guarantee the recycling of cups by paying waste collectors to collect coffee cups and send them to recycling plants. At least 100 million cups are set to be recycled this year alone following the announcement.

London, 18th April 2018: Costa Coffee has today announced it will become the first ever coffee chain in the UK to commit to recycling the same volume of cups it puts onto the market in a bid to tackle the challenge of coffee cup recycling and to stop them ending up in landfill.

The UK’s favourite coffee shop will recycle up to 500 million coffee cups a year by 2020, the equivalent of its entire yearly sales of takeaway cups and a fifth of the 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups consumed as a nation each year.

Takeaway coffee cups can be recycled but they must be collected correctly and sent to the right recycling plants. Today’s announcement will see Costa pay to make sure takeaway coffee cups are collected and sent to those paper mills which can recycle them. There are currently 3 UK paper mills (James Cropper, ACE UK and DS Smith*) that can recycle these cups and from today they will move from recycling 14m** cups to 100m this year.

Costa will pay a supplement of £70 to the waste collectors for every tonne of cups collected. 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!"

"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."

Costa was the first coffee retailer to put in place a nationwide in-store recycling scheme, accepting any branded paper cup, and to date has recycled 14 million cups since February 2017. Today’s announcement will work alongside Costa’s ongoing commitments to increase the use of reusable cups, whilst working with a number of designers and cup manufacturers, looking at how to minimise and eventually eliminate plastic in takeaway cups.

Commenting on the announcement, Phil Wild, James Cropper PLC CEO said, "Seeing the high-quality material available in coffee cups go to waste on such a huge scale is what led us to develop our CupCycling™ technology. We established supply networks with coffee houses, waste management companies and brands to bring this waste stream back into value chains."

"By extracting the paper fibre from used coffee cups, not only can we make a wide range of paper products, but our latest innovation, COLOURFORM™ goes a step further by turning it into high quality plastic-free packaging too."

"Currently only a small proportion of the 2.5 billion cups we use in the UK each year are beingrecycled. That's why this new scheme initiated by Costa is a really positive step in the journey to significantly increase these rates and help tackle a longstanding environmental concern."

Note to editors

*There are currently 3 UK paper mills James Cropper (Kendal), ACE UK (Halifax) and DS Smith (Kent) that can recycle takeaway coffee cups. Combined they currently have capacity to recycle over 4.5 billion takeaway cups per year.

**Between February 2017 and February 2018 Costa recovered and recycled 14 million takeaway cups as part of its in-store recycling scheme. Cups were collected from stores and recycled via one of our waste partners, Veolia.