The London Coffee Festival hosted ‘Paper cup recycling and the circular economy’, which explored how the UK can recycle more paper cups by engaging all of the players in the supply chain to work towards a circular economy solution.
Panelists featured Paul Synnott, managing director at Seda UK, Peter Goodwin, co-founder of Simply Cups, and Packaging News’ Waqas Qureshi.
Synnott stressed that the industry is taking initiatives and has invested in recycling – bringing capacity to recycle up to the 2.5bn cups per year that are used by UK consumers – and pointed out the cups needed a route to get to the recycling centres.
Goodwin said the consumers want to do the right thing and dispose of their coffee cups in a ‘green bin’, and also stressed the importance of finding solutions with waste disposal companies that collect from green bins.
Qureshi emphasised that the issue will require various actors to contribute to the solution – from cup manufacturers that could adopt or develop new technologies that make cups more easier to recycle; and local authorities and central government to invest in infrastructure; waste disposers who need to provide an improved service that separates cups from other waste more effectively; and consumer habits such as littering.
Additionally, Simply Cups, which was recycling all the cups at the London Coffee Festival, launched what it said was the worlds first re-usable cup made from used cups.
Every rCUP is made from six used cups, and Goodwin said that if just one in 10 coffee drinkers switched from throwaway cups to the rCUP, 50 million used cups would be recycled a year.