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Veolia’s fresh approach to coffee cup recycling

United Kingdom – Waste management and recycling major Veolia has launched a new-style recycling scheme for businesses, their staff and customers in the UK in a bid to prevent ‘millions’ of used takeaway drinks cups from going to landfill. This initiative follows ‘successful’ trials by Costa Coffee and Starbucks, as well as research suggesting only one in 400 cups in the UK is recycled because of difficulties with the paper and plastic mix.

With a total investment of around Euro 3 million, Veolia has designed a unit for cafés, offices, shops and transport stations that enable customers and staff to stack the cups on a rack to drain in preparation for bulk batch collection by the company or return using a post-back service.

The collected cups will be reprocessed into new products, including new cup holders, egg boxes and home insulation material.

‘This recycling solution is the first scalable UK-wide scheme that addresses all aspects of the supply chain, from the moment you finish sipping your coffee right through to processing the fibres which can be used for high-grade applications,’ explains Richard Kirkman, technical director for Veolia UK and Ireland.

The bins will be available to Veolia’s existing customers and new ones on a rental basis calculated by volume, with the average cost for a bin around 60 Euro cents a day and 1 Euro cent per cup for collection.

Veolia has no plans to roll out the collection scheme elsewhere in Europe.

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