Coffee Giants Sign ACE UK Cup Recycling Agreement

Coffee giants, such as Costa and Starbuck, along with organisations from across the paper cup supply chain, have signed an agreement with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK) to accelerate UK recycling of PE lined paper cups.

The cross-industry collaboration will work towards delivering a long-term, nationwide paper cup recycling solution, which complements and builds on the recycling activities achieved so far by the paper cup industry.

The companies signed up to the agreement are: Benders Paper Cups, Bunzl Catering Supplies, Caffe Nero, Costa Coffee, Dart Products Europe, Greggs, Huhtamaki, International Paper, McDonald’s UK, Nestlé, Pret A Manger, Seda Group, Starbucks, and Stora Enso.

Using ACE UK’s extensive recycling expertise, gained running the beverage carton industry’s recycling programme, the fourteen companies will fund an activity programme, which will give many more people access to recycling for paper cups. The programme includes:

  • From 1 January 2018, all ACE UK bring banks will accept paper cups for recycling, delivering an additional 382 recycling points located in 97 local authorities across the UK. With a further 33 recycling points across an additional eight local authorities scheduled during the next phase.
  • Cups from these recycling points will be processed at ACE UK’s recycling facility in Halifax.
  • Drawing on its experience and existing relationships with local authorities, waste management organisations and recycling bodies, ACE UK will work to include cups in local authority kerbside collections. Currently 66% of local authorities collect beverage cartons at kerbside, in addition to those which collect through bring banks, and it is hoped to achieve similar levels of coverage for cups.

Primary Focus

ACE UK has been successfully running the beverage carton industry’s recycling programme for the last ten years driving significant increases in carton recycling as part of its role as the UK beverage carton industry trade body.

During this time, it has worked closely with local authorities and waste management companies so that today 92% of local authorities collect beverage cartons for recycling through either bring banks or kerbside collection.

Commenting on the agreement Richard Hands, CEO of ACE UK said: “The paper cup industry is facing very similar recycling challenges to the ones the beverage carton industry faced when we started our programme ten years ago.

Richard Hands, CEO of ACE UK – “Whilst our primary focus will remain on increasing beverage carton recycling, we believe our expertise, experience and existing relationships can help the paper cup industry create a step change in cup recycling.”

“Whilst our primary focus will remain on increasing beverage carton recycling, we believe our expertise, experience and existing relationships can help the paper cup industry create a step change in cup recycling. Whilst it is early days, we have a clear measured plan agreed and expect to see significant progress in cup recycling over the next two years and beyond.”

The agreement builds on activities implemented and supported during the last year by the companies involved, such as in-store cup recycling, single site and pilot recycling projects including “One More Shot” and the “Square Mile Challenge”.

Neil Whittall Global Category Director of Speciality Coffee at Huhtamaki UK, and chair of the Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group (PCRRG) said: “This agreement with ACE UK represents a significant advance in UK recycling infrastructure for paper cups.

“It will also help us accelerate progress towards the PCRRG’s objective of ensuring the majority of the UK population have access to information, schemes and facilities to allow them to recycle their paper cup, as set out in our Paper Cup Manifesto.”


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