National Cup Recycling Scheme: Celebrating Collaboration

During Recycle Week, Samantha Ward's latest Blog celebrates the collaboration of major retailers, waste collectors and UK reprocessors, which has enabled the success of the National Cup Recycling Scheme.

The National Cup Recycling Scheme was developed and launched by Valpak and Costa in 2018 to increase the number of cups being recycled in the UK. It works by providing a financial incentive of £70 per tonne of cups collected to those waste collectors signed up to the Scheme.


The Scheme brings together major retailers, waste collectors and UK reprocessors, all of which have contributed to its success so far. There are eight co-funding brands, which are signatory to the Scheme. These are: Costa, McDonald’s, Pret A Manger, Caffè Nero, Greggs, Burger King, Pure and Lavazza Professional. There are now 25 waste collectors signed up to the Scheme, which cover a variety of locations across the UK. The Scheme also partners with four UK paper mills: James Cropper, DS Smith, ACE Sonoco and Essity. Each of these accept paper cups into their paper recycling processes and, as a result, the Scheme has now collected and recycled over 155 million cups!

A voluntary industry collaboration, the National Cup Recycling Scheme provides an open platform for these major retailers to work together and share their knowledge.

Ellen Jones, Global Head of Sustainability at Pret A Manger, observes:

“The National Cup Recycling Scheme is a great example of how shared sustainability goals and competitor collaboration can bring the circular economy to life.”

Looking forwards collaboration remains key to making a difference to cup recycling in the UK.

Oliver Rosevear, UK Energy and Environment Manager at Costa, says:

“Costa is proud to have developed and continued to be a key partner of the National Cup Recycling Scheme. The scheme has demonstrated that through collaboration, we can deliver a long-term solution to drive cup recycling across the UK.”

Improving the UK’s infrastructure for cup collection and recycling is pivotal to the Scheme.

Richard Bond, Global Senior Manager Sustainability at Lavazza Professional explains:

“Collaborative cross-industry partnerships like this are a vital way to increase the availability of recycling solutions in the UK, to help our customers ensure their paper cups are recycled and valuable paper fibres can be used again”.

The Scheme will continue to work with current members as well as engage with new retailers, waste collectors and reprocessors.

Valpak would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with the National Cup Recycling Scheme for their ongoing hard work during these challenging circumstances.


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