A street solution to recycle coffee cups has been launched by Veolia, in partnership with Westminster city council and the Heart of London Business Alliance.
Westminster street-sweepers will have specific bins as part of their equipment for coffee cups
The scheme will see Westminster street-sweepers become ‘mobile coffee cup recycling points’, meaning they will have a separate bin as part of their equipment exclusively for people to dispose of coffee cups. There will also be specialised on-street bins introduced to help people “do the right thing”.
YouGov research, commissioned by Veolia, indicated that 30% of Londoners buy at least one hot take-away drink each week. The same research also showed that almost half (47%) would be willing to hold onto their cup for longer if it could be recycled, while 24% would go out of their way to use a specific bin.
All cups collected through the scheme will be taken to a Veolia hub in London where they will undergo a further separation process to guarantee all rogue items have been removed.
Exactly to which paper mill the cups will go, has not been disclosed by Veolia. But it is thought to be sending some of the material to specialist papermakers in the UK. Veolia said that it will utilise “specialist pulping plants which separate the fibres from the plastic lining for recycling”.
Westminster city council cabinet member for environment, sport and community, Cllr David Harvey, said the whole borough needs to do more to reduce levels of waste.
He said: “I’ve asked Westminster residents to join me in giving up single-use plastics over Lent. Whether it’s straws, bottles or coffee cups we live in a city addicted to plastic – but small changes help make a big difference. I hope that central London’s commuters make the most of this new opportunity to make their daily caffeine hit guilt-free.”
The Heart of London Business Alliance serves as a voice for 500 local businesses and property owners in the Piccadilly & St James’s and Leicester Square areas.
The scheme will initially cover a number of high-footfall streets in the West End around Victoria Station, as well as Piccadilly, St James and Leicester Square. If successful it could be extended further.
Christina Wells, deliveries and wastes coordinator for Heart of London Business Alliance, added: “By providing easy access to recycling solutions for members of the public and our businesses, we hope to see an ever increasing awareness of key environmental issues.”