Coffee cup war won: major chains sign manifesto

Largely thanks to a highly publicised campaign and future television programme by chef and television personality, Hugh Fearnley-Whttingstall, major high street brands have signed a manifesto to cut coffee cup waste.

Launched by the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) and Paper Cup Recovery Recycling Group (PCRRG), the manifesto aims to significantly increase paper cup recovery and recycling rates over the next four years.

The manifesto will ensure that the majority of the UK population will have access to the necessary information, schemes and facilities to enable them to successfully recycle and recover the materials that make up disposable coffee cups.

As written in the document, which is made up of 30 industry signatures, the agreed parties will work to:

  • Implement research and projects to understand the current lifecycle of used paper cups and identify opportunities to maximise recovery and recycling rates
  • Engage with Government, other bodies and interested parties to explore ways in which to support the implementation of the Manifesto work programme
  • Build on existing capabilities, skills and experiences to support and engage consumers and provide consistent recycling messaging and facilities
  • Deliver a range of initiatives which will allow consumers and the wider industry to increase the recycling and recovery of paper cups

Mark Pawsey, Rugby MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Packaging, said that he was “encouraged to see industry working so closely together to find and implement solutions for recovering and recycling paper cups.”

The pledge itself is a voluntary commitment, funded entirely by the members that sign to it.

Over the past few years, the coffee industry has been at the centre of criticism regarding sustainability and its ability to produce recyclable materials for the disposable products that it sells.

It is predicted that fewer than one in every 400 cups from high street coffee chains are actually recycled – meaning that fewer than 3 million cups found their way to recycling plants last year.

Peter Goodwin of Simply Cups, Britain’s only paper cup recycling service, said that it apparent that “the application of the recycling symbol on a product (from whatever industry) bears no guarantee that a product – whilst recyclable – is actually going to be recycled.”

The full list of signatories is as follows:

  • 4 Aces Ltd
  • BaxterStorey
  • Benders Paper Cups
  • Bio Bean
  • British Plastics Association
  • British Soft Drinks Association
  • Bunzi Catering Supplies
  • Caffe Nero
  • Clean Up Britain (CLUB)
  • Compass
  • Costa
  • Confederation of Paper Industries
  • James Cropper
  • Dart Products of Europe
  • DS Smith
  • First Mile
  • Foodservice Packaging Association
  • Greggs
  • Grundon
  • Havi Global Solutions
  • Huhtamaki UK
  • Kotkamills
  • Keep Britain Tidy
  • Keep Scotland Beautiful
  • Kent Resource Partnership
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Maxabel International
  • McDonald’s Restaurants
  • Moto Hospitality
  • Nestlé
  • The Packaging Federation
  • The Paper Cup Recovery Recycling Group
  • Pelican Rouge Coffee Solutions
  • Pret a Manger
  • Seda UK
  • South Cambridgeshire DC and Cambridge City Council
  • Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Stora Enso
  • University of Sheffield Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre
  • Vegware
  • Veolia
  • Waitrose/ John Lewis
Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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