A few weeks back, our blog focused on coffee cup recycling. Having been brought into the media spotlight by Hugh Fernley Whittingstall, the question was raised about whether the cups should display the recycling symbol, when so few were actually recycled.
Plenty of blame was focused on the leading coffee chains, yet we all have a part to play if we want things to change. Now, a social experiment is being introduced to the streets of Manchester to see whether coffee cup recycling can become financially viable.
Large Coffee Cup Bins
HUBBUB has worked in partnership with Manchester City Council to install large coffee cup shaped bins along Oxford Street. These bins are designed for the disposal of coffee cups only. If the public are willing to separate their litter and only dispose of coffee cups in these bins, then the recycling process is viable. If all manner of waste is deposited in the bins, it becomes too costly to process the waste.
The project hopes to collect in the region of 20,000 coffee cups during the experiment. This will allow them to not only assess the public’s attitude towards recycling, but also the available recycling technology and processes. The plan is to make around 15,000 plant pots from the waste, which will be utilised in the community gardens of Manchester.
Public Support for Recycling
It is hoped that the experiment can demonstrate that there is public support for coffee cup recycling when the right facilities are available. There is also the need to prove that the recycling process is affordable and beneficial. If the results match the expectations of the HUBBUB team, it is hoped that the bins will become a permanent fixture in Manchester and be rolled out in other UK towns and cities.
Over recent decades we are becoming increasingly used to separating recyclable products from other items. Many of us have also grown accustomed to putting food waste on the compost heap. Can we also be encouraged to either take our own mug to the coffee shop or hold onto our empty cups until we find the right bin?