Recycling scheme turns cups into colognes

A new workplace cup recycling service is promising to turn millions of paper cups into high end fibre goods such as packaging for perfumes and colognes.

Coffee and vending machine supplier Selecta UK has partnered with waste contractor Veolia to introduce its SelectaGreen Cup Recycling Service at locations including train stations, schools and hospitals.

Customers who sign up for the scheme will receive a dedicated recycling box which, when full, will be collected by Veolia within 48 hours of a request being received. The recycling box will be replaced at the customer site and the cups taken to Veolia’s facility in Essex where a separation process will ensure rogue items are removed before the remaining cups are taken to a specialist UK pulping plant. Selecta said none of the materials used would go to landfill.

“The recycling of a paper coffee cup is a complex process,” said Emily Stoten, marketing director of Selecta UK. “Whilst our cups can already be recycled, we recognise that it isn’t always easy for our customers to do this due to supply chain challenges, particularly when they are not based in city centres.”

Stoten said the new scheme would ensure millions of cups a week can be collected for processing to be used in the paper pulp manufacturing industry where they will be turned into products including shopping bags and luxury notepads.

Selecta said the initiative was in response to increasing awareness of the growing scale of coffee cup waste combined with the lack of infrastructure to deal with it. It quoted statistics showing that 2.5 billion cups are thrown away in the UK every year with less than 1% recycled.

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