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New scheme tackles the coffee cup conundrum

Packaging producing and recycling firm DS Smith has won funding from an initiative that aims to boost paper cup recycling in the UK.

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The project by DS Smith aims to recycle 24 million cups in the first year

According to DS Smith, it is estimated that 7.8 million coffee cups are sent to landfill or burned each day.

The Cup Fund, launched by environmental charity Hubbub in partnership with Starbucks, is a £1m grant that supports ambitious projects that aim to tackle the issue of coffee cup waste across the UK.

Funding of between £50,000 and £100,000 has been made available to the successful projects that demonstrated an idea for a project that would boost paper cup recycling in their locality.

DS Smith’s Coffee Cup Drop Box is the only national scheme to have been selected as part of the initiative. Each box can hold around 700 cups and once full, is collected by Royal Mail and returned to DS Smith’s paper mill in Kemsley to be recycled back into new paper packaging products.

The firm partnered with Associated Vending Services (AVS) to trial the service with its members. AVS members operate tens of thousands of vending machines all over the country and can be found in a number of locations including workplaces, local government buildings, NHS sites, leisure centres and cinemas.

Placing around 80 to 90 million paper cups on the market each year, AVS members will now be able to offset the cost of setting up its own recycling service and accelerating a nationwide rollout of the scheme using the grant from Hubbub.

The Coffee Cup Recycling Drop Boxes from DS Smith are commercially available for other business to access the scheme

“Our target is to recycle at least 24 million cups in a year alone through our partnership with AVS members and the funding provided by Hubbub as part of The Cup Fund Grant,” says Jochen Behr, head of recycling at DS Smith.

“The grant will support the roll out of our newly launched Coffee Cup Drop Box which will provide the much-needed national infrastructure to reduce the 7.8 million coffee cups that are currently not being recycled across the UK each day.”

Louise Cummings, chief executive officer at AVS, adds: “At AVS we’re committed to encouraging sustainable practices and collecting used vessels for recycling from remote and unmanned sites. We are delighted to be partnering with DS Smith, who have worked tirelessly to ensure this system is as trouble free for the end user as possible.

“The simplicity of emptying your cup, and dropping it into a container, which is whisked away when full by a carrier who already visits your site, is a fantastic solution for all.”

A total of 12 projects have received funding from The Cup Fund, including Bristol Waste which will partner with Bristol City Council and James Cropper Paper Mill to establish a network of street cup bins and in-store drop off locations in the city.

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