How many coffee cups can you recycle?

London Met’s Moorgate campus will be home to the Square Mile yellow bins.
Date: 4 April 2017

London Metropolitan University is one of 34 City-based companies to take part in the Square Mile Challenge.

Led by Hubbub, an environmental charity, the project is run in collaboration with Simply Cups, the UK’s fastest growing recycling company, to encourage people to recycle their coffee cups properly. It is hoped that 5 million cups will be collected and recycled by the end of the year.

The scheme encourages people to put their coffee cups in the yellow bin so they can be recycled into something new.

“The disposal of coffee cups is a problem not only at London Met but across the UK with less than 1% of coffee cups being recycled. We are excited to take part in the Square Mile Challenge as it provides a closed loop recycling system - a portion of the cups collected will be made into new mouldable plastic products for use in a new community space at Aldgate in partnership with the City of London Corporation,” said Rachel Ward, Sustainability Manager at London Met.

The initiative launched on 3 April and aims to recover half a million cups within the square mile and recycle them into new products creating a closed-loop solution for the high profile issue of disposable coffee cups.

Hubbub co-founder Gavin Ellis said: “We are delighted that so many organisations, including the local authority, Network Rail and businesses that are usually in competition with each other, are collaborating to tackle this issue. We hope that other parts of the UK will follow suit and eventually reach a point where recycling levels for coffee cups are on a par with those for drinks cans and bottles.

“It would be easy to suggest that everyone should use reusable cups for our hot drinks, but the reality is that disposable cups are being used in their millions and so we have to deliver a solution to this issue. Alongside their participation in the development of recycling solutions, it’s great to see that many retailers are also now providing discounts for customers using reusable cups and are investigating finding long-term solutions to ensure cups can be more widely recycled in the UK.”

Companies such as Lloyd’s, Deloitte, Network Rail and the City of London Corporation will also be taking part.