UK’s biggest ever coffee cup recycling scheme | London’s Square Mile Challenge


London’s Square Mile Challenge aims to recycle half a million cups in April. Caffeine-fuelled workers in the City of London are being urged to use brand new recycling points established across the Square Mile as part of the UK’s biggest push to date to tackle the issue of disposable coffee cup recycling. According to us, an initiative worth following in major cities!

London’s Square Mile Challenge

The City of London Corporation, Network Rail, national coffee retailers and some of the Square Mile’s biggest employers have joined forces in the Square Mile Challenge initiative led by environmental charity Hubbub, in partnership with recycling company Simply Cups. The scheme introduces coffee cup recycling facilities across the City and aims to collect and recycle half a million cups in the City of London throughout April, rising to 5 million by the end of the year. Check out their launching video here.

Over 100 high street coffee retailers like Caffè Nero, Costa, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Pret A Manger and Starbucks are offering recycling facilities and accepting coffee cups in their stores, regardless of where they were purchased.  There are unmissable Square Mile Challenge bins in the shape of bright yellow coffee cups in place on the City’s streets and cups will be collected at both Liverpool Street and Cannon Street stations during rush hour every week day throughout the month.

Employers are playing their part, with over 30 organisations based in the City collecting paper coffee cups in their offices, helping divert them into a new waste stream.

It’s making the City cleaner, reducing waste and boosting recycling

Every day up to seven million coffee cups are thrown away across the UK, with less than 1% of these cups thought to be recycled.  The tricky issue to date has been the plastic film on the inside of the paper cups, which means that the cups can rarely be recycled with other mixed recycling.  The recycling methods used for the Square Mile Challenge will process the cups to create either a plastic or recovered fibre material which is made into new products, some of which will be donated to a new outdoor community space and cafe opening in the City next year.

It follows the launch of the Paper Cup Manifesto in June 2016, which garnered over 40 signatories from companies involved in the coffee industry, committing to improve recovery and increase recycling of paper cups.

Website: Square Mile Challenge

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