Quantcast

UK's Largest Coffee Chain Pledges to Recycle as Many Cups as It Sells

Business
Costa Coffee at Aberdeen Airport. Vincent Li / Flickr

Costa Coffee pledged on Wednesday to become the first coffee chain in the UK to recycle the same volume of takeaway cups they put onto the market.

"Our new initiative will mean that for every Costa takeaway cup we sell, we will aim to ensure that one is recycled," the British multinational coffeehouse touted.


Costa vowed to recycle half a billion cups a year by 2020, or "the equivalent of Costa's entire yearly sales and a fifth of the 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups consumed as a nation each year."

Costa Coffee, the largest coffee chain in Britain with more than 2,000 stores, is making a big step in curbing the constant stream of to-go cups that end up as landfill waste. Even though these cups are mostly made of paper, these single-use items are almost never recycled or composted because they are lined with plastic.

Costa's new initiative works alongside its ongoing in-store recycling scheme, where any takeaway cup left or returned to the shop gets recycled. Costa said it will pay waste management companies a supplement of £70 ($100)—on top of the £50 they already get—for every metric ton of cups they collect. The extra costs will not be reflected in higher prices for consumers, the Guardian reported.

"It dispels the myth that coffee cups can't be recycled," Dominic Paul, managing director of Costa, told the Guardian. "By creating a market for cups as a valuable recyclable material, we are confident that we can transform the UK's ineffective and inconsistent 'binfrastructure' to ensure hundreds of millions of cups get recycled every year. 100 million cups will be recycled this year alone following our announcement, 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."

Britain throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year, and less than 1 percent of them are recycled. The problem is much worse in the U.S., where an estimated 60 billion paper cups end up in landfills. According to Stand.earth, only 18 of 100 largest U.S. cities offer recycling for paper coffee cups.

Other major coffee companies are making efforts to go green. Last month, Starbucks, which distributes about 600 billion paper and plastic cups worldwide per year, committed to bring a fully recyclable and compostable paper cup to market in three years.

Dunkin' Donuts announced in February that it is phasing out its landfill-clogging polystyrene foam cups in favor of paper cups. The plan, the company said, will prevent nearly 1 billion foam cups from entering the waste stream each year.

Dunkin's new double-walled paper cups are made with paperboard certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard. However, these cups are "mostly recyclable," as in their recyclability depends on whether your state or local waste management services can handle them.

Of course, every eco-minded coffee lover should know that if you purchase a beverage from a coffee shop, either sip it from an in-store mug or bring your own thermos. It's not just better for the environment, it often saves you money. For instance, Costa gives a discount of 25p (about 35 cents) to customers who bring their own reusable cups.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Christine Zenino / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Greenland is melting six times faster than it was in the 1980s, which is even faster than scientists thought, CNN reported Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
The 18th century St. Catherine of Alexandria church is seen after its bell tower was destroyed following a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck the town of Porac, pampanga province on April 23. TED ALJIBE / AFP / Getty Images

At least 16 people have died, 81 are injured and 14 are still missing after an earthquake struck Luzon island in the Philippines Monday, according to the latest figures from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, as the Philippine Star tweeted Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Climate change activists gather in front of the stage at the Extinction Rebellion group's environmental protest camp at Marble Arch in London on April 22, on the eighth day of the group's protest calling for political change to combat climate change. TOLGA AKMEN / AFP / Getty Images

Extinction Rebellion, the climate protest that has blocked major London thoroughfares since Monday April 15, was cleared from three key areas over Easter weekend, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Veganism refers to a way of living that attempts to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty. For this reason, vegans aim to exclude all foods containing meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and honey from their diet (1).

Read More Show Less
American farmers use chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain and nervous system issues, on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn and strawberries. Stephanie Chapman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jessica Corbett

In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
fstop123 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.

To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.

Read More Show Less
NASA

By Shuchi Talati

Solar geoengineering describes a set of approaches that would reflect sunlight to cool the planet. The most prevalent of these approaches entails mimicking volcanic eruptions by releasing aerosols (tiny particles) into the upper atmosphere to reduce global temperatures — a method that comes with immense uncertainty and risk. We don't yet know how it will affect regional weather patterns, and in turn its geopolitical consequences. One way we can attempt to understand potential outcomes is through models.

Read More Show Less
Maria Gunnoe Flight, courtesy of southwings.org

By Julia Conley

Green groups on Saturday celebrated the latest federal ruling aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from rolling back environmental regulations that were put in place by his predecessor.

Read More Show Less