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Costa praised for new recycling ‘racks’

Costa has won praise from campaigners for committing to a nationwide recycling scheme for takeaway cups.

Friends of the Earth said Costa’s pledge to recycle coffee cups across its 2,000 UK stores, equating to 30m cups a year, was a “huge step in the right direction” in the war on waste, although it warned there were still “billions of cups left to go”.

Costa is setting up recycling racks in all of its stores where customers will be encouraged to leave used coffee cups from both Costa and rival brands ready for recycling by its waste partner Veolia. It follows a successful pilot across a number of stores in London and Manchester.

Friends of the Earth has been leading a campaign to cut coffee cup waste and wants to make throwaway cups a thing of the past. “Other chains should follow Costa’s lead and make sure all their cups can be recycled,” said Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth head of campaigns.

The lack of coffee cup recycling has gained prominence this year thanks to high profile campaigns by the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; however evidence suggests consumers are still confused about the issue. According to a recent survey conducted by Allegra World Coffee Portal, 54% of consumers state they always recycle their takeaway coffee cups. But with less than 0.25% of cups actually being recycled in the UK, there is still a big discrepancy between consumer perception and the reality of recycled materials.

Businesses including Starbucks and McDonald’s recently signed up to a new Paper Cup Recycling Manifesto, although as yet no firm targets have been set.