Disposable coffee cups 'impossible to recycle'
Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30
Disposable coffee cups handed out in their billions are "virtually impossible" to recycle despite major café chains claiming theirs are eco-friendly, campaigners have warned.
According to some estimates, fewer than 1pc of the 2.5bn paper and plastic cups used in the UK each year are recycled, leading to criticism of high-street cafés for stamping them with recycling logos.
While some leading chains say that they work to make recycling cups easier and offer incentive schemes to encourage consumers to use their own cups, there are calls for brands to take greater responsibility for the waste.
TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, whose #wastenot campaign has gathered more than 300,000 supporters, said: "It's time for our biggest coffee shops to come clean."
He added: "The take-away cups they sell us are virtually impossible to recycle - they don't fit our local recycling systems, so the vast majority end up being incinerated or sent to landfill."
The cups pose a challenge to recycling plants due to the combination of plastic and paper in their design.
There are just two specialist facilities in the UK that have the equipment to separate the materials.
Peter Goodwin, co-founder of Simply Cups, said he expects the firm to recycle six million cups in 2016, fewer than the number made each day.
He said: "The consumer has trust in the brand that if they put a recycling sign on the cup then the product is being recycled. People are being misled."