UK-based property firm Landsec has collaborated with Costa Coffee-led national coffee retailer consortium on coffee cup recycling.


Image: Landsec and Costa Coffee-led consortium have collaborated on coffee cup recycling. Photo: courtesy of rawpixel / Unsplash.

The partnership will work to transform the lifecycle of disposable coffee cups and improve the sustainability of the coffee industry.

Landsec sustainability manager Tom Byrne said: “Problems of this scale cannot be eradicated by one organization – or even one industry – alone. The complexities of supply chains are such that we need to view sustainability issues holistically, to drastically reduce the amount of waste that doesn’t get recycled.”

Landsec’s industry-wide working group is involved in testing methods to increase the recycling of coffee cups.

Three retail destinations of Landsec, including Bluewater, Trinity Leeds and Gunwharf Quays, are carrying out individual trials to develop better method for customers to dispose coffee cups and reach appropriate papermills in a suitable condition for treating and recycling.

Landsec is conducting trials with the support of partners such as The Hubbub Foundation, an environmental campaign charity.

According to Landsec, various significant barriers are preventing disposable coffee cups from being recycled and 5% plastic insert inside the cups is difficult to remove for papermills.

The UK legislation is also inhibiting papermills that manufacture food packaging from recycling disposable coffee cups.

Most of the UK papermills and waste companies were reluctant to the cost of increased transportation and logistical implications of delivering cups to a mill, which will not manufacture food packaging.

To address this problem, Landsec is focusing on two crucial points in the lifecycle of a coffee.

The firm intends to increase the number of cups disposed by consumers into coffee cup recycling bins or recycled in-store at the point of disposal. It will help reduce the contamination and increase the rate of recycling.

Under the trial, the bins and signs at each of the retail destinations will alert consumers regarding the significance of separating used coffee cups from other waste.

Landsec will distribute the used coffee cups to a suitable mill after collection, through establishing relationships between coffee retailers and waste companies.

Costa environment head Ollie Rosevear said: “Costa Coffee has been at the forefront of addressing the complex issues around coffee cup recycling and we’re delighted to partner with a landlord as forward-thinking and passionate as Landsec to look at increasing the recycling rates within their operating environments.”