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Home News The Cup Fund - Everything You Need to Know

This week, environmental charity Hubbub, have launched The Cup Fund in partnership with coffee giant Starbucks. It is the biggest UK fund to support the launch or upscale of cup recycling schemes.

The Cup Fund has been launched on the back of the success of the Leeds By Example campaign, whereby Hubbub teamed up with Forge Recycling and a coalition of 25 companies to boost recycling on the streets of Leeds.

Over 300,000 cups have already been delivered to the James Cropper mill as part of the Leeds By Example campaign, where they have been given new life thanks to our CupCycling facility, an award winning innovation and the first of its kind in the UK. The cups have since been transformed into speciality papers and used by brands such as Burberry, Selfridges and Paperchase to create bespoke, luxury packaging and ‘conscious living’ stationery.

Hubbub are looking to replicate the scheme across the UK with the financial backing from Starbucks. Here’s everything you need to know…

Who is The Cup Fund for?

The Cup Fund is aimed at any organisation or local authority with the potential for large scale cup collection in high footfall areas. Applicants must have an ambitious idea to improve cup recycling in their town or city and be able prove that it is scalable and suitable for busy areas.

Applicants must be from a UK registered organisation, and is open to all businesses regardless of size.

It can be a new idea or an existing scheme that needs a financial boost to really reach its full potential.

How much funding will the winner receive?

The fund will be split between 10 winners from all around the UK, each winner will receive between £50,000 and £100,000 to support the development of schemes and infrastructure. It will be split accordingly, based on the financial needs of each of the winners.

Where is the money coming from?

In 2018 Starbucks voluntarily introduced a 5p charge to every ‘to go’ order that was served in a single use paper cup. Since the national roll out of the 5p charge Starbucks have donated the money to Hubbub to support the work they do to raise awareness of plastic pollution and put practical solutions in place.

Starbucks will donate at least £500,000 to the The Cup Fund generated from the 5p charge.

How to apply

Applicants can apply through The Cup Fund website, entry is open from Thursday 11th April to Friday 24th May 2019. Winners will then be announced on the 9th July 2019.

The winners will be selected by an independent panel that will include the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) and the Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM).

What will happen to the cups?

In 2017 only around 1 in 400 paper cups were recycled, but thanks to in-store collections by restaurant and coffee chains and campaigns such as Hubbub’s Leeds By Example the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group confirmed that recycling rates have now increased to around 1 in 20 cups. This is a huge improvement and is largely due to the actions being taken by individual organisations and collaborative projects.

The UK now has the capacity and the facilities to recycle all of the paper cups used in the UK each year but without behaviour change and financial support it is difficult for the ‘on the go’ drinks sector to get the cups to the recycling facilities.

When cups are brought to James Cropper they are processed through our CupCycling plant, where the plastic coating is removed from the cups and reprocessed, the paper is then recycled into pulp that is used for making paper. CupCycling is a fine example of a circular economy model in action, based on three key principles and resulting in zero waste:

1. Design out waste and pollution
2. Keep products and materials in use
3. Regenerate natural systems

After being part of the Leeds By Example scheme and seeing first-hand the effects of the work done by Hubbub and Forge Recycling we are very excited to see how The Cup Fund develops.

“The launch of The Cup Fund marks a step change, taking the fantastic work being done in smaller pockets around the UK to a much larger, national scale. Having created the world’s first method of upcycling used coffee cups, we see the enormous value in that waste stream, and we know it can be turned into fantastic, premium paper and packaging.

“With the capacity to upcycle 500 million coffee cups per year, we can offer a significant part of the solution to how the country creates value from single use cups. We are ready and waiting to work in partnership with the grant winners who choose CupCycling for their schemes.”
- Richard Burnett, James Cropper Market Development Manager

We hope to be working closely with the winners to support them through the development of their projects and offer our expertise in the successful collection, treatment and processing of the cups.