UK-based company Veolia has launched a new coffee cup recycling bin to reduce cup contamination and increase recycling rates.

The company will offer its specialist-designed, in-house recycling bin as part of a packaged service, which will also include a bulk collection option and a post-back system for businesses.

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Veolia developed its solution on the basis of coffee cup disposal habits, which were recorded during trials supported by Costa and Starbucks.

Commenting on the launch, Veolia UK and Ireland senior executive vice-president Estelle Brachlianoff said: “Over the last six months a lot of activities have been taking place with our customers, such as Costa and Starbucks to overcome our biggest challenge – contamination in the cups.

“As a result, we’ve worked on a solution that will separate the cup from the general waste stream as soon as the customer has enjoyed their drink – and we’re thrilled to see so much public support for cup recycling.”

Veolia will procure used cups and carry out a further separation process to ensure that all unnecessary items have been removed, enhancing the quality of materials that will be reprocessed into new products.

"Unlike taxation on paper cups and some other measures that have been proposed until now, this represents a clear solution that deals with the problem directly."

After the cups are debagged, separated, and checked for quality and contamination, they are treated at paper pulping facilities to recover fibres and separate polymer plastic linings.

Fibres from the cups can be used to make different products, including egg boxes or cup holders, or cellulose-based home insulation.

British Coffee Association executive director Chris Stemman said: “We wholeheartedly welcome and support Veolia’s innovation in recycling coffee cups from the office space. This represents a long-term sustainability solution that advances the all-important circular economy.

“Unlike taxation on paper cups and some other measures that have been proposed until now, this represents a clear solution that deals with the problem directly. It’s a big step forwards.”

Image: Veolia's specialist designed coffee cup recycling bin. Photo: courtesy of Veolia.