Local authorities encouraged to support coffee cup recycling message

LARAC, as supporting members of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG), welcomes the recent announcement by On Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) that paper cups will have their own specialist recycling label.

There are now more than 4,800 paper cup recycling points in the UK provided through a network of bring banks, in-store takeback opportunities and over 20 national and regional waste operators providing cup collection services to office and businesses as part of their waste collection service.

There are also a number of high street collections launched, such as those in Leeds, Cardiff, Glasgow, Swansea, Edinburgh and Portsmouth, plus new national post back services and a small number of local authorities that are collecting cups from the kerbside.

This means there is a good network of cup recycling points for consumers. An analysis of paper cup recycling point location in 2019 by PCRRG showed that 98% of local authorities in the UK have at least one cup recycling point within their boundaries whether that is provided by a local coffee retailer or through ACE recycling bring banks. Paper cup recycling locations can be found via www.recyclenow.com. The result is an extensive national network that consumers can easily access to recycle paper cups, help recover the valuable fibre and ensure the material can be used in new packaging applications here in the UK.

Lee Marshall, CEO of LARAC, said: “We see the new recycling label for coffee cups as a reflection of the collaborative work by local authorities, retailers, reprocessors and other industry organisations who have acted together to improve national opportunities for the public to recycle cups. The new label encourages consumers to take their cups to coffee shops or other points for recycling”.

Neil Whittall, Chairman of the PCRRG, added: “We know that local authority messaging has a huge influence on recycling behaviours and would encourage authorities to check their websites and other communications materials to ensure the messages they provide are consistent with the new cup label.”

The suggested core message for cup recycling is that paper cups can be taken to any of the in-store recycling facilities that are offered by most major coffee chains including Costa Coffee, Caffè Nero, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Greggs and Pret A Manger. Cups don’t need to be taken back to the store they were purchased from - any brand of cup can be recycled in any store. Cups can also be taken to ACE UK carton recycling bring banks or recycled through the various on street and office facilities now spreading across the UK.


More information about cup recycling is available from http://www.pcrrg.uk/. Any local authority that would like support in relation to messaging on cup recycling or that is interested in setting up new collection schemes for cups can contact communications@pcrrg.uk.