We are always looking for new and innovative recycling food packaging including paper cups solutions. If you are a commercial deli, coffee shop or organise sizeable events and are looking to find a solution to recycle your disposable paper coffee and tea cups, then a company called Simply Cups may be the perfect solution for you, possibly in conjunction with other local outlets in your area. Below is more information on their offering:
Simply Cups is a partnership between Closed Loop Environmental Solutions (responsible for scheme) and Simply Waste Solutions (collection service) and is the only paper cup recovery and recycling service operating in the UK. The scheme is a great fit for companies which are looking to improve their recycling rates, transparency in waste management and environmental credentials, contributing towards the achievement of sustainability goals such as zero waste to landfill.
The Paper Cup Recycling Issue
The 3 billion-plus paper cups used in the UK each year have been sent to general waste where they are either landfilled or incinerated. Recycling plants reject the cups, finding it problematic to separate the cardboard from the internal plastic film coating. The recent campaign by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, as part of his ‘War on Waste’ series (https://www.rivercottage.net/news/wake-up-and-smell-the-waste), has led to significant media coverage and debate on the issue, with his programme recently airing on BBC1 and widespread articles appearing in the national press (e.g. The Guardian).
The Simply Cups recycling scheme is the solution, providing customers with bags, assistance in the purchase of bins, PR and communication tools and a frequent collection service. After collection, the cups are transformed into a variety of products which are also recyclable. These products can be purchased in our online shop https://www.simplycups.co.uk/shop/products/ and can be used to reinforce the cup recycling message to consumers on member sites.
To participate, companies are first required to join the scheme as a Customer Member. Simply Cups Membership for small companies (less than 250 employees) for example costs £200 Year 1, £100 Year 2 onwards and includes the following features:
- access to collections at a maximum collection charge £1.50 per bag of cups
- provision of employee communication material (bin stickers and posters)
- preferred rates on the purchase of recommended cup recycling bins
- membership certificate
- web site listing
- annual report on scheme performance
We also have membership options for the paper cup supply chain, supporters, large companies, the education sector and the sports sector. To view the features of membership for each of the categories listed visit: https://www.simplycups.co.uk/current-members/join-us/.
Simply Cups suggests that independent cafes can implement the following actions to have a robust, sustainable strategy:
(1) In-store recycling
A commitment to recycle paper cups in store provides visibility to consumers that the café is addressing and contributing to solving the issue. The solution is based on providing in-store bins that will ideally stack cups – and therefore reduce costs significantly (reducing the volume of waste collected – 100 cups loose in a bag vs. 500 stacked). By signing up to the Simply Cups scheme, we can collect the sacks of cups at £1.50 per sack – on the collection frequency required.
(2) Use of New Cup Recycling Tubes
ashortwalk have recently developed a new cup collection mechanism which is ideal for the café environment. The bins come with clear bags which can be easily removed and placed inside the Simply Waste Solutions blue sacks when full. Each blue sack will fit around 5 X cup stacks (around 500 cups). The clear sacks of lids can also be placed into the Simply Waste Solutions bags however the lids and cups should ideally go into separate bags. Alternatively you may wish to recycle the lids via the mixed recycling route. Please find the details on the bins below.
Ashortwalk tube bins
Prices for tube bins are (from left to right) £120, £155, £175 and £220. Prices will be reduced when ashortwalk begin full production of the bins in June.
(3) Fitting out new stores with products made from used cups
We recently launched an innovation that can turn used cups back into new functional products https://www.simplycups.co.uk/simply-cups-launches-a-range-of-new-consumer-products-derived-from-recycled-cups/ which can be used an effective tool to stimulate cup collection. This solution is provided in partnership with ashortwalk who have the ability to manufacture signage, trays, napkin dispensers, tables, chairs etc. made from used cups. A strategy to fit out stores with products made from used cups (see website- https://www.simplycups.co.uk/shop/ ) again will be an effective tool to show how you are contributing towards solving the issue.
(4) A take-back scheme
We believe that a ‘take-back’ scheme – whereby independent cafes offered to take back cups (potentially other brands as well) will not only differentiate the brand significantly, but also generate significant brand loyalty and return custom. We believe that the commercial benefit of the scheme will far outweigh any additional costs (from collecting cups).
Return on Investment
Around 500 stacked cups fit into a bag as opposed to 100 loose cups. Therefore efficient segregation and collection of cups on-site reduces both cleaning and waste collection costs. To find out the potential savings associated with stacking and recycling your cups via Simply Cups in comparison to disposal of loose cups via General Waste enter the cup volume of your clients site/ sites into our calculator: https://www.simplycups.co.uk/current-members/simply-cups-calculator/