Manchester coffee shop sets 40,000 target for recycled takeaway cups

A Costa Coffee branch is on track to recycle 40,000 takeaway cups in the next five years, while customers will save nearly £7,000 during that time.

Costa Coffee at Stretford Mall, Manchester, is currently recycling a quarter of all its disposable, cardboard cups having launched two schemes in tandem last summer in a concerted effort to protect the environment.

As an incentive to customers, the branch knocks 25p off the cost of hot and cold handcrafted drinks when people bring in their own reusable cups or travel mugs, avoiding the need for the store to use a takeaway cup.

The Stretford Mall premises has also become proactive in encouraging people to bring in used takeaway cups, regardless of whether it’s from Costa or one of its competitors, so it can be recycled and ultimately reduce the number going to landfill.

Around 150 used cups are brought into the shop every week, which amounts to a massive 7,800 being recycled over the course of 12 months.

Mark McKay has been manager of Costa Coffee at Stretford Mall since it opened almost two years ago, having previously worked for the chain at Manchester Airport.

He said: “The aim of the initiative is to help reduce the wastage in terms of takeaway cups, and make us more environmentally friendly.

“More and more people are bringing in their own cups or travel mugs because not only do they like the discount they prefer their own anyway.

“We recycle about 150 takeaway cups a week. If people bring other competitors’ cups in then we’ll take them as well to recycle. It doesn’t just have to be Costa takeaway cups.

“We’ve also taken straws and napkins away from the stands in the shop because some people will grab big fistfuls which is more unnecessary waste.

“Everything we do is environmentally driven and about looking after the planet. It’s very important to us.

“It’s something Costa does across the board. I don’t set any targets we just want to try and get as many people as possible involved.

“We do use a lot of takeaway cups so it’s a difficult thing to quantify anyway but at the moment I think we recycle about a quarter of all cups.”

Meanwhile, The Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG) remains confident of the progress that has been made in recycling paper cups despite Waitrose taking the decision to withdraw paper cups for its customer in-store and on-the-go free tea and coffee service.

A spokesperson for PCRRG said “Paper cups can and are being recycled in the UK and with the addition of the DS Smith paper mill capability announced in March, coupled with the ACE UK facility that went live in January and existing facilities such as James Cropper, Kendal, capacity now exists to recycle all the UK’s used paper cups” said the spokesperson.

She adds: “Paper cups are the most food safe and sustainable solution for tea and coffee on-the-go and have a positive role to play in the UK economy; it is important that people realise their benefits and any individual decision is not misinterpreted. Paper cups are made from sustainable certified forestry sources and account for just 0.27% of UK paperboard production and 0.7% of the UK’s total packaging waste.

“The industry is continuing to work hard across the supply chain to increase the number of collection and recovery points for consumers and to increase the number of waste collection partners who recover used paper cups and direct them to one of the many reprocessing plants in the UK. This circular economy model benefits both the consumer and industry as a whole.

“The decision by Waitrose is purely an internal one. They are a member of the PCRRG and are fully aware of the progress the industry is making to reach its target of having the majority of UK used paper cups recycled by 2020. There have been many great displays of leadership in recycling by other retailers recently implementing schemes to recycle paper cups into items that could be used elsewhere in their stores.”