Costa Coffee has pledged to recycle as many coffee cups as it sells by 2020, as the industry continues its efforts to cut waste.
The scheme will see 500 million cups a year recycled – a fifth of the total used in the country – including some sold by rivals.
The coffee giant will offer a £75-per-tonne incentive for waste collection companies to pick up cups and has partnered with five national firms – Veolia, Biffa, Suez, Grundon and First Mile.
Dominic Paul, managing director of Costa, said: “It dispels the myth that coffee cups can’t be recycled. By creating a market for cups as a valuable recyclable material, we are confident that we can transform the UK’s ineffective and inconsistent ‘binfrastructure’ to ensure hundreds of millions of cups get recycled every year.
“Up to 100 million cups will be recycled this year alone following our announcement, and if the nation’s other coffee chains sign up, there is no reason why all takeaway cups could not be recycled by as early as 2020.”
Trewin Restorick of environmental charity Hubbub said: “It’s great to see industry stepping up the pace to tackle this serious environmental issue. There has been a significant increase in the UK’s recycling facilities over recent months and the biggest challenge now is to make sure the used cups are collected and make it to the recycling plants.”
Earlier this month Waitrose announced that it would stop offering disposable coffee cups at its stores, instead requiring customers to bring reuseable containers.
It follows the government’s apparent rejection of suggestions for a ‘latte levy’.