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DS Smith cracks coffee cup recycling


The number of discarded coffee cups is staggering. In the UK it is estimated that billions of cups are drunk by British coffee lovers each year and then simply thrown away and never used again. This throw away culture is placing an increasing strain on landfill sites and the environment in general. UK Vending is at the forefront of a drive to make the situation better and in conjunction with Kent based packing and paper company DS Smith, of Sittingbourne we will continue to promote better usage and environmentally friendly solutions to the problem.

DS Smith in mid March 2018 announced that they had cracked the recycling challenge facing the drinks industry across the United Kingdom. The company has invested heavily in a state of the art reprocessing site at Kemsley, near Sittingbourne, in Kent and believe that up to 2.5 billion cups could be recycled at the site.

Commenting on the announcement, Peter Clayson, General Manager for DS Smith Recycling, said: “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.”

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.Peter Clayson, General Manager for Business Development and External Affairs

Currently, we only recycle one in every 400, while just 1% of consumers bring their own reusable cups. DS Smith has called on both local and national government to improve cup collection routines as well as to provide details of its coffee cup recycling capacity to the PCRRG (Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group) of which it is a member, as this new development radically improves the UK’s ability to reprocess its used coffee cups.

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