The company's move into Europe is designed to help tackle coffee-cup waste at the heart of the drink's biggest market


The firm aims to tackle the 4.5 billion disposable coffee cups currently used in the Benelux region (Credit: Pixabay)

A coffee cup recycling scheme run by cardboard packaging company DS Smith will expand into Europe through the company’s De Hoop Mill in the Netherlands.

The firm will target 4.5 billion single-use coffee cups currently used in the Benelux region — an area encompassing Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.

DS Smith first introduced the coffee cup recycling scheme at its Kemsley Mill in the UK, with the recycling rate jumping from 1 in 400 to 1 in 25 cups over the past two years.

The company is hoping to achieve an equally powerful impact in Europe, which represents 30% of the global coffee market.

DS Smith CEO Miles Roberts said: “While we’re a continent of coffee lovers, we need to work together to ensure that we are not negatively impacting the environment and single-use coffee cups do not end up in landfill.”

“We’re proud to be able to export our successful recycling formula to Europe. But we need help: our biggest challenge remains getting hold of the cups.

“We’re calling on governments to work closely with us to solve the problem of supply and ensure consumers put cups in separate recycling bins, knowing that they aren’t just recycled in theory, but in practise too.”

How will DS Smith’s coffee cup recycling scheme work in Europe

DS Smith has already conducted a successful trial at the De Hoop Mill, working alongside collection partner Renewi.

During this period, it successfully recycled more than 100,000 disposable coffee cups, with further trials underway ahead of its full launch later this year.

DS Smith coffee cup Europe
DS Smith will recycle the coffee cups at its De Hoop Mill in the Netherlands (Credit: Pixabay)

Used coffee cups present significant challenges to paper mills, due in part to their plastic lining, making the products notoriously difficult to recycle.

DS Smtih has nine paper mills across Europe, and this move is part of the company’s commitment to a circular business model.

Last month, the firm announced it had become the first packaging business to recycle more waste than it produces.

It says more than 5.1 million tonnes of recyclable material has been collected, sorted, reprocessed or transported by its recycling division.

Roberts said: “Our industry-leading position as a net positive recycler is a particular area of pride and we recognise that our materials need to be both recyclable in theory and recycled in practice.

DS Smith has also been working in partnership with circular economy charity, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Founder of the charity Dame Ellen MacArthur said: “We were delighted to welcome DS Smith as a Global Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“Building on the company’s strong history of innovation across its supply chain, our partnership will focus on identifying opportunities to redesign materials, business models, and problematic waste streams to create solutions that are aligned with the principles of the circular economy.”