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DS Smith seeks far better infrastructure for cup recycling

PKBR Staff Writer Published 20 March 2018

UK-based packaging and paper company DS Smith has called for far better recycling collection infrastructure to address the issue of coffee cup recycling.

After months of in-depth research, the company said its paper mill in Kent could help recycle up to the 2.5bn cups discarded by the UK coffee consumers per year.

Currently, the company recycles only one in every 400 discarded coffee cups, as 1% of its customers bring their own reusable cups.

DS Smith recycling general manager Peter Clayson said: “We have been working around the clock to solve the throw-away coffee cup challenge, as enjoying a latte has become part of British culture.

“We could recycle up to two and a half billion cups each year, but we need the recycling collection infrastructure to be far better if we are to reach the goal of recycling every last cup.”

DS Smith has also called on the UK Government to implement measures that would help support a better collection of throw-away cups.

The firm has also provided the Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group (PCRRG) with details of its coffee cup recycling facility, to help improve the reprocess of the used coffee cups.

Clayson added: “There are two challenges to recycling a high volume of coffee cups. Firstly, there is the plastic lining that must be removed from the cups, then we need to ensure that the cups have not been too badly soiled by food waste.

“If we can work together with local councils, coffee sellers, and the waste management sector to improve segregation of the cups and develop a comprehensive collection infrastructure, we can make a huge difference together.”

Recently, the UK Government has rejected a proposal from the Environment Audit Committee (EAC) to introduce a latte levy on disposable coffee cups, instead has selected to rely on voluntary discounts for reusable cups.


Image: DS Smith said it recycles only one in every 400 discarded coffee cups. Photo: courtesy of DS Smith.