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Pret rolls out nationwide coffee cup recycling scheme

Pret a Manger has launched its coffee cup recycling scheme in over 350 UK shops, meaning that almost 90 per cent of Pret's UK branches now have a recycling point on the shop floor.

This nationwide rollout, which follows successful pilots in London, Leeds and Glasgow, will allow customers to recycle any paper coffee cup, not just those purchased from the company.

A Pret a Manger shop

Laura Gutowski, Director of Strategy and Sustainability at Pret, said: “Doing our bit for the planet is enormously important to us at Pret. We are absolutely committed to improving recycling rates of our coffee cups and we want it to be as easy as possible for customers – and those passing our shops – to get involved.

“That’s why we have put our recycling points on the shop floor, rather than hidden away behind the counter, and why we’ll happily accept any high street coffee cups, not just those from Pret.”

Pret’s recycling scheme forms part of the company’s concerted effort to improve the sustainability of its packaging. In January 2017, Pret introduced a 25 pence discount off hot drinks when customers bring a disposable cup, increasing this to 50 pence in January 2018.

The company has reportedly saved over six million paper cups since introducing its disposable cup discount in January 2018.

Coffee cup waste

A report published in January 2018 by Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) revealed that 30,000 tonnes of coffee cups were wasted in the UK each year, with only 0.25 per cent being recycled. The report proposed a compulsory charge – similar to the plastic bag charge – on the use of disposable coffee cups, calling for the government to introduce legislation to control this mountain of waste.

Seeking to tackle the amount of coffee cup waste it produces, coffee chain Starbucks has partnered with environmental behaviour change charity Hubbub to launch a coffee cup recycling fund, which will see grants of between £50,000 and £100,000 go towards disposable cup recycling projects.

Hubbub has shown previous commitment to coffee cup recycling, with its Leeds by Example project addressing the issue by introducing on-the-go recycling points around Leeds city centre.

Amid rising public concern over coffee cup waste, coffee chain Costa has announced plans to recycle up to 500 million disposable cups a year by 2020, whilst waste management company Veolia has predicted that 2019 will see a 300 per cent rise in the number of coffee cups collected for recycling.

You can find out more about Pret’s sustainability strategy on the company’s website.

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