An industry group which aims to develop recycling opportunities for paper cups has responded to Waitrose’s decision to ban disposable coffee cups, stating that the UK now has the capacity to recycle all paper cups.
The Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG) – which has members including DS Smith, Nestlé, Costa Coffee and Huhtamaki – said it aims to highlight the importance of paper cups and “the positive role they play in the UK economy”.
Earlier this week, supermarket chain Waitrose announced it will remove all takeaway disposable coffee cups from its stores this year as part of its strategy to reduce its environmental impact.
Waitrose claimed the move will save more than 52 million cups annually, drastically reducing the supermarket’s environmental impact.
PCRRF has since highlighted the progress that has been made in recycling paper cups.
A spokesperson 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.
“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.”
Announcing the changes, Waitrose head of sustainability Tor Harris said the supermarket is “confident the majority of customers will support the environmental benefits.”
Last month, the UK government rejected the introduction of a levy on takeaway coffee cups, instead choosing to rely on voluntary discounts for reusable cups.
The Environment Audit Committee had put forward a £0.25 levy on the cups, with the money raised used to improve the UK’s recycling infrastructure.
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