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Recycling paper cups

Recycling paper cups

Environmental charity, Hubbub, has launched The Cup Fund, to kickstart paper cup recycling programmes in locations across the UK[6]. The Fund will support at least 10 large-scale recycling programmes, offering grants of between £50,000 and £100,000 based on the specific needs of each application to develop long term infrastructure and ensure cups are collected and sent for recycling.

The ability to recycle paper cups has increased over the last two years and there is now enough capacity in the UK to recycle all paper cups used. However, because cups have a plastic lining that stops hot drinks from leaking, they need to be collected separately from other paper goods. As a result, specific cup recycling points are needed as well as clear communication to help the public recycle easily.

Applications are invited from a range of organisations wanting to increase infrastructure but lacking funding, including local authorities, recycling companies, property owners and social enterprises to come forward. The aim is to collect cups in significant volumes in areas where there may not have been any drop off points before.

The Cup Fund is financed by Starbucks, which introduced a 5p charge on paper cups in 2018 to encourage customers to increase their use of reusable cups and avoid the charge. Proceeds are donated to Hubbub to carry out environmental projects that increase recycling as well as behaviour change studies to understand more about consumer behaviour, including the barriers that stop more people using a reusable cup. The instore charge has seen reusable cup use increase from 1.8% nationwide to over 5% of all hot drinks sold. Instore cup recycling is also offered in over 350 Starbucks stores across Britain, in a scheme that means any brand of cup can be brought back to be recycled.  

References

6. https://www.hubbub.org.uk/blog/hubbub-launches-thecupfund

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