Innovation That Matters

Recycling initiative

New initiative helps recycle coffee cups

Work & Lifestyle

UK resource management company is offering a new business solution to companies wanting to reduce coffee cup waste.

It’s well known that coffee cups bought from highstreet chains are one of the biggest crimes against the environment – so many coffee drinkers just discard their cups without thinking of the waste. Over 50 percent of regular coffee drinkers dispose of their cups at work, so Veolia has come up with a plan to provide a business solution to help workspaces capture the cups before they end up in the trash.

The company has already ran trials with some of the largest coffee chains, and there are a number of recycling solutions for businesses. The latest is a in-house recycling bin that’s been specially designed for the cups (and draining the liquid), along with a bulk collection option and a service that lets businesses post back the empty cups once they’ve been tipped, flipped and stacked – a process that separates the cup and sleeve and makes sure all the liquid has been removed.

“Over the last six months a lot of activities have been taking place with our customers, such as Costa and Starbucks to overcome our biggest challenge – contamination in the cups,” explained Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia’s UK & Ireland’s Senior Executive Vice-President. “As a result, we’ve worked on a solution that will separate the cup from the general waste stream as soon as the customer has enjoyed their drink.” Once collected, the cups will then be sent at paper pulping facilities, which recover the fibres and separate the polymer plastic lining. The recovered fibres could be used in a multitude of new products including egg boxes and cup holders, or used in the manufacturing of cellulose-based insulation for homes.

It sounds like a great idea and we hope more and more businesses sign up to it. Everyone across the world needs to help out more with protecting the environment – an Amazonian store started paying out food to customers bringing in discarded plastics and a Scandinavian reverse vending machine pays customers to return flat batteries. In what other ways can we help save the planet?



Download PDF