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Taking up the challenge

Taking up the challenge



DS Smith brews innovation

British-based packaging company cracks the coffee cup recycling challenge

May 2018

Following months of in-depth research, UK-based packaging and paper company, DS Smith, has found a solution to the coffee cup recycling challenge. Using its state-of-the-art paper mill in Kent, the company believes it could recycle up to the 2.5 billion cups discarded by British coffee lovers each year.

Commenting on the announcement, Peter Clayson, general manager for DS Smith Recycling, said: “We have been working around the clock to solve the throw-away coffee cup challenge, as enjoying a latte has become part of British culture. We could recycle up to two and a half billion cups each year, but we need the recycling collection infrastructure to be far better if we are to reach the goal of recycling every last cup.”

“There are two challenges to recycling a high volume of coffee cups. Firstly, there is the plastic lining that must be removed from the cups, then we need to ensure that the cups have not been too badly soiled by food waste. If we can work together with local councils, coffee sellers, and the waste management sector to improve segregation of the cups and develop a collection infrastructure, we can make a huge difference together.”

Every day in the UK, one in five visits a coffee shop. Every year, 2.5 billion single-use cups are thrown away – enough to reach around the world more than five times. Currently, we only recycle one in every 400, while just 1 per cent of consumers bring their own reusable cups.




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