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Manchester experimenting giant coffee cup recycling bins

in Waste Management by

In the United Kingdom, 7 million coffee cups are being thrown away a day. Even when they are disposed in recycling bins, less than 1% of these cups are recycled. Chef-turned-waste-activist Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall from environment charity Hubbub decided to take the bull by the horns and launched the #1MoreShot campaign in Manchester.

What’s the campaign all about? 11 new giant coffee cup recycling bins have been placed along Oxford Road. 20,000 coffee cups is expected to be collected and will be recycled.

Coffee cups are mainly made with a mixture of plastic coatings and paper being difficult and costly to separate and hard to recycle. Currently only one in 400 cups are being recycled. Hence, a new and cost-effective way of recycling the cups was devised by AShortWalk in collaboration with consultancy Nextek.

This new idea will test a ground-breaking new technology – Ellis

They decided to shred the cups into pellets and added a lately designed resin.  This will allow them to easily recycle the used cup into 13,000 garden products such as flower pot holders through to re-useable coffee cups. Dan Dicker from AShortWalk hopes that “councils across the UK adopt this technique as an answer to paper cup waste. Making new products from the collected cups drives demand and allows us all to see what actually happens to our cup once we place it in the bin.”


In order to attain, its objectives Hubbub developed a plan in order to have the collaboration of the major high street coffee retailers like McDonald’s and Costa. The Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) and Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG) have launched an industry-wide Manifesto with the purpose of considerably increasing paper cup recovery and recycling rates by 2020. They agreed to find and fund solutions.

Even though, coffee cup recycling bins were installed the big challenge was to sensitize the population that only coffee cups must be thrown in them. Hubbub has just partnered with Manchester City Council for some testing, which have proved successful. According to Hubbub Co-Founder Gavin Ellis, “this new idea will test a ground-breaking new technology and discover whether the public will separate out their coffee cups if specialist bins are provided”.

The products which will come out from these recycling efforts will benefit the community of Greater Manchester and can be extended to other cities across the UK.

Photo credit: Hubbub


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