Britain's Costa Coffee pledged yesterday to recycling half a billion coffee cups a year by 2020 and said it seeks to become the first chain to guarantee it recycles the same number of cups as it puts onto the market. Less than 1 percent of coffee cups are recycled in Britain, which has led to politicians calling for a "latte levy" on disposable cups.
Britain has resisted those calls and instead encourages voluntary measures to limit cup use. Costa said there was a misconception that coffee cups could not be recycled, and that while the process was more costly, it had reached agreements with five waste disposal firms to guarantee more cups would be recycled. Costa said it would pay waste management companies 70 pounds ($100) per ton of cups collected. Combined with the 50 pounds per ton they currently receive, it makes it economically viable for the firms to collect the cups.
An additional five pounds per ton will go to an auditor. Costa, which is owned by Whitbread, said the costs of the program would not be material. For the target of 100 million cups for the next 12 months, the estimated cost is just under 100,000 pounds. The goal is for 500 million cups to be recycled by 2020. The chain competes with companies like Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Caffee Nero and Greggs on the British high street, and Paul said that other firms should join the scheme.