Last week we talked about how important it is to use coffee cups branded with your coffee business logo. That applies equally for disposable cups and reusable takeaway cups, with the environmentally friendly message becoming ever more important to UK coffee consumers. So, when we saw the announcement this week that a new, far more recyclable coffee cup was coming to the UK, we wanted to share that news, so that coffee shop owners and mobile coffee businesses can plan in advance – if it fits their business model. The new coffee cup recycling service is a venture between Detpak, the coffee cup manufacturer, and Shredall, a paper collection and recycling service.
The problem, as you surely must know, is that most disposable coffee cups come with a plastic lining which is hard to separate from the paper cup. Throw it in with the usual paper recycling, and you ruin a batch of recycled paper. Throw it in with plastics…same deal. There are simply very few recycling plants in the UK with the necessary technology to efficiently separate the bonded materials. We get through some 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups in the UK alone, yet less than a single per cent get recycled, and on average the raw materials are only recycled once. We’ve highlighted a few alternative throwaway cups in the past which tackle the problem from different directions. But this venture between Shredall and Detpak aims to overcome the challenge in a joined-up way.
Firstly, and hugely importantly, Detpak’s new cup is made from paper sourced from sustainably managed forests. It’s called the RecycleMe cup. Its watertight interior is made from a product called EarthCoating, which, it’s claimed, uses 43% less plastic than most paper cups you’ll buy. According to Shredall, these cups can be processed into recycled paper products via the usual, standard paper recycling plants. Impressive and encouraging stuff.
Of course, you still need to get the used coffee cup to the right plant. Each coffee cup has the RecycleMe logo and details printed on the bottom of the cup, which should aid consumers make the right decisions when disposing of them. We’re a little sceptical about how often people look at the bottom of a coffee cup, however, and with all the confusing messages around paper cup recycling in recent years, re-educating the public around what can and cannot be recycled is going to be the biggest challenge of all. What’s really needed is a united approach to production, recycling and reuse from the UK government, to direct innovation and ensure better recycling and reuse success rates.
Of course, the Detpak cups can be digitally branded all around – so the responsible coffee shop owner can always give over some space on the side wall to share the recycling message and help their customers choose the right recycling route – and that will enhance rather than restrict your branding and positive PR opportunities. Shredall has 13,000 collection points around the UK, which is a pretty good starting point. We’ll see more details when the scheme launches later in 2018.
In the meantime – and even after – keep pushing your discounts on bring-your-own-coffee-cup schemes, and look into selling your own – fully branded, of course!