Coffee shop chain Costa Coffee has taken a huge step forward in the war on waste coffee cups with the rollout of a pioneering cup recycling scheme to more than 2,000 of its stores across the UK.
Edie.com is reporting that the Whitbread-owned retailer today confirmed the full launch of the scheme, following a successful coffee cup recycling trial which took place across 45 Costa stores in London and Manchester last year.
Instead of using traditional front-of-house recycling bins, Costa will encourage customers to leave their coffee cups on the side or hand them into a barista, where they will be taken back-of-house by Costa staff and stored upside down on dedicated racks, to ensure they are free from contamination.
The cups are then backhauled by Costa’s logistics partner Kuehne & Nagel to be baled and sent on to a specialist fibre recovery facility in Sheffield operated by Veolia. There, the cups are pulped and turned into moulded fibre products such as coffee cup holders and egg boxes, completing the circular economy process.
Costa’s energy and environment manager Ollie Rosevear explained that the back-of-house recycling process will ensure that “any cup” from Costa or any of its competitors can be recycled, as it overcomes the critical challenge of contamination.
“From the trials, we found that many of the cups deposited by customers in front-of-house bins were contaminated,” said Rosevear. “Using the racks back of house, we can guarantee that the cups are drained out and well-presented so that they can be recycled properly.”
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