National Cup Recycling Scheme brews a unique blend for success

The National Cup Recycling Scheme, one of Valpak’s voluntary extended producer responsibility systems, has now been in place for two years. The Scheme comprises of eight co-funding members: Costa, McDonald’s, Pret A Manger, Caffè Nero, Greggs, Burger King, Pure and Lavazza Professional. The Scheme aims to increase the number of cups being recycled in the UK.

Cup collection infrastructure

Having established that cups can be recycled the Scheme focuses on growing the infrastructure required for the collection of cups. For cups to be recycled they must be collected in a separate waste stream. Paper cups can now be recycled in a wide range of locations, for example, many of the Scheme Members have paper cup recycling points in their stores. These are in place for customers to return their empty cup to be recycled. In light of the current coronavirus pandemic all of these retailers have been forced to close their stores. This means that the number of hot and cold drinks being sold in paper cups and in turn the number of cups being placed on the market is likely to be considerably lower than in usual circumstances. And so, the Scheme is likely to see fewer paper cups collected and recycled during the Lockdown period.

The Scheme makes the collection of cups commercially attractive to waste collectors by providing a financial incentive of £70 per tonne of cups collected. The Scheme now has 27 waste collectors signed up as cup collectors from only 5 in 2018. Many of these are continuing to operate as normal and carry out their waste collections. Although there may be fewer cups available for collection in the current circumstances, many waste collectors have a backlog of cups that are stored until there are enough to make a bale. The Scheme also has the unique ability to track the number of cups that are delivered to its partner mills, James Cropper, DS Smith, ACE UK and Essity. It was promising to see that the Scheme’s partner mills still received deliveries of cups in March.

Cup recycling progress

The Scheme has made significant progress towards increasing the number of cups being recycled in the UK since its launch in April 2018. Over 140 million cups have now been collected and recycled through the Scheme. Despite these challenging circumstances there remain many positives: a good number of cups were delivered to the mills in March, new waste collectors wish to sign up to the Scheme to collect cups when the time is right, and the Scheme welcomed Lavazza Professional as a new member.

The reopening of their retail stores provides a great opportunity for these Brands as Scheme Members and Valpak as Scheme administrator to consider how to collect even more cups and continue to grow the success of the Scheme.

Already dreaming of going out for your favourite coffee once lockdown ends?

Recycle your cup!

For more information about the National Cup Recycling Scheme and to find your nearest cup recycling point here.

Valpak, as Scheme Administrator and on behalf of its members wish you and your loved ones well during these uncertain times.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.