Paper Cup Recycling

To help significantly increase the recycling of disposable cups,
Valpak has teamed up with Costa Coffee to help design and
setup a new initiative aimed at collecting disposable cups

In the UK there are approximately 7 million paper coffee cups used every day, which equates to 2.5 billion every year. However, at present only 1 in every 400 is recycled.

Disposal Cup Recycling Logo 

The challenge

The challenge in recycling disposable cups is that they are made up of paper with plastic in the inner lining which is tightly bonded to the paper to help make them both heat and leak-proof. This means the cups cannot be recycled at standard recycling plants, and must instead be taken to one of three specialist recycling facilities in the UK.

With only a small number of specialist plants able to recycle these cups, the logistics of collecting and transporting the cups to these facilities has to date resulted in a small percentage being recycled.


Many coffee chains and other similar types of organisations have introduced recycling collection points for cups within their branches, which is good start and provides a network of recycling collection points; however, most takeaway coffees are consumed elsewhere, such as in offices, universities, leisure centres, transport hubs and other on-the-go locations.

The initiative aims to recycle 500 million coffee cups a year by 2020

Disposable Coffee Cups 

New Initiative

Valpak has teamed up with Costa Coffee to help design and setup a new initiative aimed at collecting paper cups from on-the-go locations.

Valpak is the Scheme Administrator for the initiative, which involves working with retailers that sell significant quantities of products in paper cups such as Costa Coffee to support the UK’s largest waste collectors and local authorities to increase the roll out of collection points for coffee cups across the UK.

Free-to-join scheme

To prevent millions of cups ending up in landfill or the incinerator, this free-to-join scheme has been set up to commercially and financially incentivise the collection of cups.

To date 16 waste management companies have signed up to the National Paper Cup Recycling Scheme, with more set to join!

If you would like further information about the scheme please email

Awards finalists

Our National Paper Cup Recycling Scheme was shortlisted for MRW's National Recycling Awards 2019 - Partnership Excellence - Commercial. We were extremely proud to be finalists in this category.

National Recycling Awards 2019 Finalist

The scheme was also shortlisted for Letsrecycle's Awards for Excellence - Waste management initiative in the retail, commercial and public sector. We were finalists in this category too!

Awards for Excellence Finalist

Data Portal Thumbnail new 

View our
Packaging Data

Our portal can provide you with real insight into the volumes and types of packaging you use in your business. This includes packaging weights and formats, materials, recyclability factors and other useful data such as costs.
Watch Video