Coffee cup waste could be eradicated by a single packaging company, which claims it could recycle all 2.5 billion cups thrown away each year.
Following months of in-depth research, UK-based packaging and paper company DS Smith has said that its state-of-the art paper mill in Kent could keep up with demand.
The Kemsley Paper Mill is the largest paper reprocessor in the UK, and the second largest in Europe. It is able to reprocess about 900,000 tonnes of paper a year.
Following a trial initiative, DS Smith said it had the capacity to reprocess up to 45,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste, 50% more than the 30,000 tonnes currently created annually in the UK.
“We have been working around the clock to solve the throw-away coffee cup challenge, as enjoying a latte has become part of British culture. We could recycle up to two and a half billion cups each year, but we need the recycling collection infrastructure to be far better if we are to reach the goal of recycling every last cup,” said DS Smith Recycling general manager Peter Clayson.
“There are two challenges to recycling a high volume of coffee cups. Firstly, there is the plastic lining that must be removed from the cups, then we need to ensure that the cups have not been too badly soiled by food waste. If we can work together with local councils, coffee sellers, and the waste management sector to improve segregation of the cups and develop a comprehensive collection infrastructure, we can make a huge difference together.”
DS Smith is a leading supplier of sustainable cardboard and plastic packaging, and also provides recycling infrastructure.
Currently only one in every 400 cups is recycled, while a mere 1% of consumers currently provide their own reusable cups.