Resource Use

London art installation marks launch of Hubbub paper cup recycling projects

Behavioural change charity Hubbub has constructed an immersive art installation on London’s Southbank to promote the launch of five new paper cup recycling schemes across London.

Hubbub's paper cup art installation on London's Southbank
Hubbub's paper cup art installation on London's Southbank

The art installation, which has been created by local art duo Mule Studio and placed outside the Tate Modern, is made up of 5,555 paper cups – the number used every minute in the UK – with 222 coloured black to represent the four per cent of cups that are currently estimated to be recycled.

The structure will remain outside the Tate Modern until 31 January, when it will move on to other prime locations across central London, after which the cups will be recycled into new products.

The installation accompanies the launch of five new paper cup recycling projects, financed by Hubbub’s The Cup Fund, in Brixton, Camden, Mayfair and Belgravia, the Southbank, and in universities across London.

All cups collected by the projects will be recycled within the UK into new products such as paper bags and greeting cards, with some of the products going back into the locations where the cups were collected to create a closed loop. The five recycling projects will each receive ongoing guidance and advice from Hubbub to ensure that the funding is utilised to deliver long-term impacts.

The launch of these schemes comes as new research from Hubbub reveals that three out of four people wrongly believe that paper cups can be recycled in the same way as other paper and card.

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder of Hubbub, explained: “While reusable cups are the most environmentally friendly choice, billions of paper cups are still being used each year and most aren’t currently recycled. We know that people generally want to do the right thing with recycling and it was surprising to find that three in four people are still unaware that cups need to be collected separately from normal card and paper.

“By using the Hubbub and Starbucks Cup Fund to raise awareness and introduce eye-catching cup recycling points in high footfall locations, we hope we can encourage Londoners to dispose of their cups in the right bins and ensure that they are recycled.”

The Cup Fund

Launched last April, The Cup Fund provides one year of grant funding, between £50,000 and £100,000, to projects looking to improve coffee cup recycling through developing long-term infrastructure.

12 recycling schemes across the UK have been chosen to receive grants from The Cup Fund – alongside the five London programmes, other successful applicants include Giltbrook Retail Park in Nottingham and the University of Northampton.

The recycling grants are financed by Starbucks’ five pence cup charge, which was rolled out across all Starbucks branches from July 2018.

Haley Drage, Vice President of Public Affairs at Starbucks EMEA, commented: “Addressing the issue of waste in and out of our stores is a global priority, and we are tackling this from a number of angles within the organisation – whether it’s reducing the amount of single-use materials we introduce to begin with, encouraging customers to adopt reusables or investing in an alternative cup solution that could transform the industry.

“Starbucks is proud to be working with Hubbub and The Cup Fund winners to launch five new recycling programmes across the capital, increasing the ease and availability of recycling for Londoners.”

Hubbub is also currently running a campaign in Manchester to encourage the use of reusable cups, with a catchy radio jingle and ‘Grab Your Cup’ posters reminding Mancunians to bring their cup with them in the morning.

You can find more information on The Cup Fund’s website

Related Articles