21st January 2018

Dozen Somerset recycling sites take single-use coffee cups

Coffee to go: and cups to recycle with cartons at 12 Somerset recycling sites

Somerset caffeine addicts now have a dozen new locations where they can recycle single-use plastic-lined paper coffee cups from major High Street cafe and takeaway chains.

News that 12 recycling sites will take the cups comes as MPs call for a 25p “latte levy” to invest in recycling and encourage drinkers to carry their own reusable mugs, and follows campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recent War on Waste TV shows focused on coffee shops.

Plastic-lined paper cups for hot drinks can now be recycled at the 12 Somerset recycling sites that already have skips for Tetra Pak-style food and drink cartons. The vast majority of Somerset’s population live or work within a few miles of these sites.

The four smallest sites of Castle Cary, Cheddar, Dulverton and Somerton are unable to offer this service as there simply is not room.

The UK throws away 2.5 billion single-use coffee cups a year. Less than 1% of coffee cups are recycled. These cups and cartons are a complex construction of layered plastic and paper. They are difficult to recycle and are dealt with at a specialist facility in Halifax.

Cups and cartons are not yet taken in Somerset kerbside collections but this will change when the new Recycle More service is rolled out from 2020.

The cup initiative is the result of a collaboration between industry body the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment – which pays for the skips at recycling sites – and High Street firms, including Caffe Nero, Costa, Greggs, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Pret A Manger and Starbucks.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee is today calling on the Government to introduce a 25p single-use charge to a takeaway coffee, with the money used to ensure cups and other food and drink packaging is recycled.

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) managing director Mickey Green said: “Reusable mugs or taking coffee in a flask are the best on-the-go alternatives to single-use cups, but it’s great news that single-use cups are now easier to recycle. It’s important that these will be recycled in the UK, helping us maintain our track record of recycling 96% of materials we collect in the UK.”

A SWP spokesperson made it clear that while single-use cups can be recycled at the dozen Somerset sites, plastic items, such as straws, cup lids and stirrers cannot, so these should be added to residents’ rubbish, but Recycle More will enable residents to recycle much more plastic waste at the kerbside.

For more information on recycling and recycling sites, visit: www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.