Landsec leads industry-wide coffee cup recycling scheme
Property developer Landsec has joined forces with a group of national coffee retailers including Costa Coffee to "dramatically" increase the amount of coffee cups recycled in the UK.
Trials at three Landsec retail destinations – Bluewater, Trinity Leeds and Gunwharf Quays – will encourage customers to dispose of their cups properly to ensure they can be treated and recycled in a suitable condition.
As part of the trial, new designated bins and signage will alert customers about the importance of separating used coffee cups from other waste. Landsec claims it will also use its “unique position in the supply chain” to ensure that coffee cups are distributed to an appropriate papermill by brokering relationships between retailers and waste companies.
“Consumers are largely unaware of the significant barriers to recycling coffee cups on a large scale,” Landsec’s sustainability manager Tom Byrne said. “This initiative is about bringing organisations together to find a solution, in a pragmatic and practical way.
“We’re saying to the industries involved that we can see what the problem is, we’ve got a good idea of how to fix it and we’d like to work together to do so. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to sharing the outcomes of our trials in due course.”
The trials are being run with partners such as environmental campaign charity Hubbub. The scheme will be rolled out across Landsec’s entire portfolio “in the coming months”, the company said.
Costa Coffee’s head of environment Ollie Rosevear said the retailer was “delighted” to partner with a landlord “as forward-thinking and passionate” as Landsec. “We are collectively working on exciting solutions with the will of consumers wanting to do the right thing and look forward to further innovating UK-wide solutions,” he said.
Coffee cup conundrum
Around 2.5 billion coffee cups that are currently being thrown away annually across the country. Paper coffee cups are difficult to recycle because they are sealed with a polyethylene (plastic) lining on the interior, which can’t be recycled along with ordinary paper waste by local councils.
Whitbread-owned Costa is widely renowned as an industry leader in cup recycling, having pledged this year to recycle the equivalent of its entire annual sales of takeaway cups – at a financial cost to the business – by 2020. In a bid to drive further change, Costa recently launched a reusable coffee cup with a contactless payment chip.
Rosevear recently claimed that a reform to the UK’s Producer Responsibility Obligation (PRO) framework and Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system would accelerate the shift to a circular economy more effectively than a ‘latte levy’.