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We all really like Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. He is the friendly chap on the telly who tells us about how things really are cooked, how they taste wonderful and who fills us with dreams of moving to a riverside cottage somewhere in the countryside. Hugh might appear to be as threatening as a warm comfy woolly pullover but is in reality a fearless and tireless food campaigner who has enlightened us to the dangers of overfishing the oceans for just a few select types of fish such as cod, plaice and haddock and offers us a more sustainable food future. So here at UKVending we are totally behind his latest campaign that has snowballed in recent days – even being discussed at the highest levels of Parliament. Sadly the Government seems less interested in pursuing a credible line than Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall does over the use of ‘non disposable – disposable coffee and tea cups’.

Hugh WasteNot

The one use cup used by most of the leading High Street Coffee houses is what has got the TV chef’s blood boiling. 2.5 billion plastic and specially coated cups are simply thrown away each year in the United Kingdom and only one percent of that number are recycled. The rest are usually simply put into landfill or expensively go up in smoke. Following Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s intervention on the subject the media has sprung into action with major newspaper articles highlighting the issue of how some leading high street chains have the recyclable logo on the cups, when this is only partial true. The special lining on the inside of the cups to make the paper one’s waterproof is hard and expensive to recycle – resulting in the cups being thrown into tips instead as it is not economic to process them. As Hugh says, “The truth is they are barely recyclable at all. They cannot be recycled through any of the normal public waste collection services, who are consistently diverting them to be incinerated or sent to landfill.”

So what exactly is your average ‘paper’ cup actually made of? 90 percent of them are, as you might expect, made of paper or cardboard, another one percent contains fragments of clay and minerals to make them sturdier, whilst the remaining nine percent is the problem. That last nine percent is a polythene lining on the inside of the cup.

img_5439There are solutions, here at UKVending we promote the use Keep Cups, which as the name implies are cups you keep and are reusable and crucially when it does come to dispose of them, they are 100 percent recyclable. There are other options too; a British inventor by the name of Martin Myserscough has developed an alternative coffee cup which he has given the rather snazzy name of Frugalpac. The Frugalpac is about to start production in the Republic of Ireland and uses recycled food grade card and then adds a plastic liner which is stuck inside. The difference being that the liner can be removed by the normal waste reprocessing plants all over the world. Myserscough believes his new approach would save around 25,000 tonnes of coffee cups in the United Kingdom going to the tip or up in smoke every year.



So let’s state for the record that at UKVending we actively support green issues as a member of the Rainforest Alliance and are committed to recycling everything that can be recycled in an environmentally conscious way. All our cups used in our vending machines are processed to eliminate as far as possible any chemicals and components that are harmful to the environment. At UKVending we fully support Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s campaign to reduce the amount of wasted cups and to increase the number that are recycled.


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