UK manufacturer Glasdon, have launched a new range of cup recycling solutions to support businesses and retailers in their mission to keep coffee cup recycling on the rise.
The new cup recycling stations and cup stackers have been purpose designed to support the efficient disposal and segregation of single-use cups.
In a recent report, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC)* highlighted the need for urgent action.
It detailed how the number of coffee shops in the UK is projected to increase from 20,000 to 30,000 by 2025 and that the estimated number of disposable cups currently being used in the UK sits around 2.5 billion.
Based on current usage estimates, the increase in coffee shops would equate to an additional 1 billion disposable cups used per year.
Paper Cup Manifesto
Due to a mix of messaging and the developing infrastructure, there has been understandable confusion around the recycling of disposable paper cups.
To improve the provision of coffee cup recycling facilities, more than 45 members of the Paper Cup Recovery & Recycling Group (PCRRG) signed the Paper Cup Manifesto in June 2016.
This joint commitment set out a 2020 target which would provide the greater majority of the UK population with access to information, schemes and facilities that enable used paper cups to be sustainably recovered and recycled.
Call for New Cup Recycling Target
In line with this, and in the current absence of any formal quantitative target on the recycling of cups, the EAC is now calling on the Government to introduce a new target that would see all single-use cups, disposed of in recycling bins, recycled by 2023.
Debbie Taylor, Glasdon Customer Support Manager for the Commercial Division explains:
“We’ve been receiving more and more enquiries from our customers, about how they can improve the recycling rates of disposable cups in their offices.
“Awareness of the problem is high and businesses clearly want to help and take action to recycle single-use cups which are disposed of in their premises.
“We’ve been working with Veolia to understand the challenges for the waste processor. With their help and guidance we’ve designed this new range of collection containers to enable users to efficiently dispose of the cups in line with the waste processor’s requirements. This disposal method greatly improves the chances of the cups being recycled.”
Currently a main challenge for waste contractors is the recovery of the cups once they are disposed of with other waste.
Even though they are considered and referred to as paper cups, disposable coffee cups cannot be recycled in the same way as paper due to the polyethylene ‘waterproof’ liner inside the cup. They should also not be disposed of alongside paper for recycling, due to the waste liquids and residue inside them which contaminates the other paper waste.
Once the cups are co-mingled with other recyclable and non-recyclable waste streams, they are difficult for processors to isolate and are often too damaged to recover.
Adopting a Method of Disposal
The most efficient method of disposal, to improve the recycling rates of the cups, is to empty out any cup waste and then collect them separately away from other waste streams.
“Veolia devised a simple process which we believe could be easily adopted by consumers. The ‘Tip, Flip and Stack’ method encourages cup users to tip out any liquid waste, flip the cup over and stack it inside a dedicated cup bin or cup stacker.
“We’ve used this and similar methods to inform the design of our new compact Eco Nexus® Cup Recycling Station and the larger Nexus 100 Cup Recycling Station, as we now understand that stacking the emptied cups upside down, assists with further drainage and drying. This again helps to improve the recyclability of the cups.”
The new dedicated cup recycling stations all feature separate liquid waste disposal reservoirs, additional compartments for plastic lids or other related cup waste and stacking tubes which can take the range of small, medium and large cups.
Glasdon have also compiled a useful Guide to Coffee Cup Recycling which provides tips and considerations for businesses looking to review their existing recycling programmes and waste management agreements.
For more information take a look at our range of Cup Recycling Solutions or talk to us about your business requirements today.
* EAC Report - Disposable Packaging: Coffee Cups – 5th January 2018