Costa Coffee and McDonald’s UK are joining with motorway service area operator, Roadchef, to co-fund an innovative cup recycling programme at all 30 Roadchef sites across the UK. It is the latest project run by members of the National Cup Recycling Scheme, which aims to accelerate takeaway cup recycling across the UK.
Roadchef is one of the most recognised stopping points for drivers across the UK, whether it’s travelling for work or a holiday. Its service areas see over 50 million visitors every year, presenting a massive opportunity to help solve the challenge of collecting and recycling paper takeaway cups on-the-go, whilst also tackling roadside litter.
The businesses are coming together to demonstrate the power partnerships have in achieving circular solutions for packaging waste. By introducing 65 bold new recycling units, designed by Unisan UK, they are showing how easy it is to recycle takeaway cups and helping consumers play their part too. It means that road users can now keep hold of their takeaway cups in their cars after enjoying their favourite drinks, safe in the knowledge that they can easily recycle them at the next stop on their route.
Consumers can use the new units to easily separate their cups, lids, and any leftover drinks before sending them off for recycling. Cups will then be backhauled via Costa Coffee’s stores and will be processed at specialist facilities, including James Cropper’s CupCycling facility, where they will be turned into luxury paper and packaging using FibreBlend Upcycled Technology.
Speaking about the project, Richard Burnett, head of technology and innovation at James Cropper, said: “As a business that has sustainability at its core, creating a second life for valuable resources and materials that are considered challenging to recycle is hugely rewarding for us.
“We’re delighted to be part of Roadchef’s commitment to drive circular solutions that reduce waste, which is very much aligned with our own commitment to the war on waste through world class fibre blend innovation.
“Using our CupCycling expertise we are able to transform the paper cups that are used in their service stations into beautiful new papers for stationery and packaging.”
For Costa Coffee, this partnership reflects the company’s work to improve the sustainability of its cups and packaging. It also supports its wider commitment to Net Zero, which it announced earlier this year alongside setting a science-based target to halve its emissions per serving of coffee by 2030. The global coffee brand also incentivises reuse through its Costa Coffee Club loyalty scheme whilst continuing to provide cup recycling points at all its UK stores. Most recently, it launched a trial of 100% recyclable fibre lids, made from renewable plant-based material.
For McDonald’s the project forms part of their Plan for Change which launched last year. As part of this McDonald’s UK has committed to become Net Zero across its restaurants and offices by 2030 and across its entire value chain by 2040. Across its estate McDonald’s has over 1,100 recycling units where customers can recycle cups from any brand, not just McDonald’s.
Costa Coffee’s sustainability lead, Laurence Webb, said: “At Costa Coffee, we are focused on championing sustainable solutions for cups and packaging, and want to work with other leading brands to drive positive change for the environment. This exciting project helps us deliver on both aims and we’re looking forward to seeing how consumers respond so we can further optimise and boost recycling across the country.”
McDonald’s senior sustainability consultant, Helen McFarlane, said: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with our partners on this exciting project. We are committed to making it even easier for on-the-go consumers to give their cups a second life, and this is the next step on that journey.
“We hope that, by putting these highly visible bins in some of our most visited locations we can get the message out there that coffee cups can be recycled, and we will be continue to encourage people to return their cups to our restaurants across the country.”
Mike Jackson, director of supply chain management & head of charity at Roadchef, said: “Sustainability is top of Roadchef’s agenda, and we’ve been working hard to improve our credentials massively over the last few years to meet our net zero target. Our joint initiative with Costa Coffee and McDonald’s UK will make impactful change and I’m excited that our businesses are coming together to achieve a goal that’s so important to us all.
“Not only will we be recycling coffee cups at all 30 of our sites, but we’re also working on plans to have the recycled cups turned into notebooks that will be sold at our motorway service areas. It’s a closed loop initiative like this where we are really focusing our efforts as they have the potential to make radical steps towards achieving zero waste.”