A pioneering Leeds waste recycling business has come up with an innovative ‘green’ solution to our love affair with takeaway coffee.
Disposable coffee cups have been an environmental nightmare. Mainly because the materials used to make them are so difficult to recycle.
And often the single use cups simply end up in landfill or are incinerated – creating a huge environmental problem.
But now Armley-based waste specialists, Forge Recycling, have hit on a bright idea to help solve the coffee cup crisis.
Its ingenious new collection service will see thousands of single use disposable paper cups, collected from locations around Leeds and delivered to the Worlds first coffee cup recycling plant.
There, they can be treated and reborn as high-quality paper and turned into many different new products.
The remarkable advance has been made possible by new technology, pioneered by James Cropper; a Cumbria-based paper mill. Who have developed a process, which separates the plastic lining from the fibres (paper) that go into making single use cups.
And with Forge Recycling stepping in to collect the cups from public places, businesses, universities and shopping centres, and deliver them to the mill, a major environmental problem has been solved.
Incredibly, in just a few weeks of operating their collection service, the waste specialists have gathered a staggering 42,000 used cups.
Every year the UK throws away 2.5bn single use paper drinks cups – and others used for food like porridge and soup – but only around one per cent are recycled.
With an estimated 10,000 single use cups hitting UK bins every minute, fears have been growing that the mountain of cups could become the next environmental crisis.
Sam Goodall, Operations Director at Forge Recycling said the new collection will help take thousands of single use cups out of the waste stream to be recycled.
“Single use cups are a big problem. People drinking coffee on the go tend to throw them away in general waste bins, so they end up going to landfill or to incineration plants.
“Plus, until recently, there’s not been the technology available to recycle them.
“Now that’s in place, we figured that by providing bins which are just for these kinds of cups, we could then collect them for recycling.
“We only started a few weeks ago but have already collected 42,000 cups, which is enough for our first bale!”
The waste company has worked hand in hand with the Hubbub Foundation, which has been urging us all to ‘Leeds by example’ and recycle on the go.
As well as new recycling bins in public spaces, the project installed 131 brightly coloured coffee cup recycling points.
Forge Recycling has now taken that concept further, and connected with local universities, shopping centres and businesses to offer a bespoke coffee cup collection service.
“We’ve all gone to a meeting or on a journey, grabbed a coffee on the go and then just thrown it away in the nearest bin,” says Sam.
“By providing proper coffee cup collection points for people to use, we hope that habits will change and we can all help to solve a big problem.”
Forge Recycling are one of Leeds leading waste solution businesses. As well as offering a full range of commercial waste solutions, Forge Recycling provides specialised food and glass collections and skip hire for households and commercial waste.
Find out more by visiting www.forgerecycling.co.uk.