Londoners are being encouraged to make use of the recycling points, with street sweepers providing a reusable cup giveaway for the first person to bring them an empty disposable cup during the first week of the launch.

The Good-to-go project will also see specialist on-street bins placed on busy streets in the West End, around Victoria Station, as well as Piccadilly, St James and Leicester Square.

The trial has been launched by waste management firm Veolia, Westminster City Council and Heart of London Business Alliance. It is hoped the scheme will be eventually rolled out across the city.

Veolia’s senior contract manager in Westminster Helder Branco explained: “We want to make it as simple as possible for Londoners and visitors to the city to be able to recycle their hot drinks whilst on the go.

“This new scheme offers a sustainable solution that will reduce litter, works around our busy lives and ensure we can turn this material into new products. Following this initial launch I am confident the scheme will spread across more of the capital.”

Guilt-free caffeine

All cups collected through the scheme will be taken to a Veolia hub in London where they will undergo a further separation process to ensure a higher quality of material can be reprocessed. Veolia – which works with major chains such as Costa and Starbucks to recycle cups – will utilise specialist pulping plants which separate the fibres from the plastic lining.

The project launch follows a YouGov survey which found that almost half (47%) of the public would be willing to hold onto their cup for longer if they knew they would pass a purpose-built bin. Nearly one-quarter (24%) said they would go out of their way to use one.

“By providing easy access to recycling solutions for members of the public and our businesses, we hope to see an ever increasing awareness of key environmental issues,” Heart of London Business Alliance deliveries and wastes coordinator Chistina Wells said.

“Not only does this project help to keep the area clean, it reduces the need to dispose of coffee cups as rubbish and we encourage everyone to use it.”

This point was echoed by Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Sport and Community, Cllr, David Harvey: “Whether it’s straws, bottles or coffee cups we live in a city addicted to plastic –  but small changes help make a big difference,” he said. “I hope that central London’s commuters make most of this new opportunity to make their daily caffeine hit guilt-free.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond last week hinted at a charge on disposable coffee cups during his Spring Statement. This came after this month’s refusal from ministers to create a 25p “latte levy”.

George Ogleby

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