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DS Smith takes coffee cup recycling scheme to Europe

Packaging company DS Smith has announced that it will be exporting its coffee cup recycling scheme to the Benelux region.

An image of a paper coffee cup

After first developing its recycling programme at its Kemsley Mill in Kent, DS Smith is now looking to tackle coffee cup waste on the continent, which represents 30 per cent of the global coffee market.

The scheme will be based at the company’s De Hoop Mill in the Netherlands, where an initial trial saw 100,000 disposable coffee cups recycled with the help of DS Smith’s collection partner Renewi.

DS Smith claims that its recycling scheme will tackle the 4.5 billion disposable coffee cups currently used annually in Benelux.

Miles Roberts, Group CEO of DS Smith, commented: “While we’re a continent of coffee lovers, we need to work together to ensure that we are not negatively impacting the environment and single-use coffee cups do not end up in landfill.

“We’re proud to be able to export our successful recycling formula to Europe. But we need help: our biggest challenge remains getting hold of the cups. We’re calling on governments to work closely with us to solve the problem of supply and ensure customers put cups in separate recycling bins, knowing that they aren’t just recycled in theory, but in practice too.”

DS Smith has made bold claims about its recycling ambitions, stating in March 2018 that it would be able to recycle all of the UK’s coffee cup waste – a whopping 2.5 billion cups – at the company’s Kent paper mill.

The company claims that the key to its success lies in coffee cup collection, with its ‘Coffee Cup Drop Box’ scheme providing UK businesses with cup disposal boxes that will be collected and sent to DS Smith’s paper mill.

DS Smith's Coffee Cup Drop Box
DS Smith's Coffee Cup Drop Box

Tom Campbell-White, European Strategic Development Director at DS Smith, said: “In the UK we’re working with established cup collection partners such as Simply Cups. We’re also sourcing cups directly ourselves through our Coffee Cup Drop Box delivery and collection service.

“The Coffee Cup Drop Box can be ordered online to be used for coffee cup collection anywhere in the UK.”

Campbell-White explained that DS Smith is now looking to increase coffee cup collection in Benelux: “We are looking to develop our relationships with collection partners, logistics companies, coffee retailers and the whole of the coffee supply chain to provide new coffee cup recycling capacity.

“We’ll also be looking to see how our Coffee Cup Drop Box solution can help collect even more cups in Europe.”

A number of coffee chains are also taking on the disposable cup challenge – Pret a Manger has recently announced a nationwide rollout of its coffee cup recycling scheme and, earlier this year, Starbucks launched a disposable cup recycling fund in partnership with environmental behavioural charity Hubbub.

In April 2018, Costa announced plans to recycle up to 500 million disposable coffee cups a year by 2020.

With 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste thrown away in 2018, considerable efforts are also being taken to reduce demand for disposable cups. Many coffee chains, including Starbucks and Pret, have introduced charges for the purchase of drinks in single-use cups, incentivising consumers to bring their own reusable ones instead.

You can find out more about DS Smith’s recycling services on the company’s website.

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