Four of the UK’s largest coffee retailers - Caffè Nero, Greggs, McDonald’s UK and Pret A Manger - have today confirmed they have joined a nationwide cup recycling scheme that funds the collection of takeaway cups for recycling.

Launched this year by Costa Coffee, the Valpak Scheme is a market-led solution whereby coffee retailers pay a supplement of £70 to the waste collectors for every tonne of cups collected. This takes the value of one tonne of cups from being worth on average £50 to £120, a 140% increase, making it commercially and financially attractive for waste collectors to put in place the infrastructure and processes to collect, sort and transport coffee cups to recycling plants, meaning fewer cups will end up in landfill.

Within the first six months of the Valpak Scheme, over 41 million* cups have been recovered for recycling. New cup recycling points are growing across the country with consumers now able to dispose of their takeaway cups at several airports, shopping centres, universities, colleges and offices up and down the country. Consumers can also recycle their takeaway cups in selected Costa Coffee, Caffè Nero, Greggs, McDonald’s UK and Pret A Manger stores.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Steve Gough, CEO of Valpak, who administer the scheme said: “Since the launch of the scheme in April we have been incentivising waste management companies to create a new coffee cup recycling infrastructure to increase the availability of cup recycling. Coffee cups can be recycled and paper mills, such as DS Smith, are proof, that provided the cups are collected separately, specialist facilities are not always required to recycle coffee cups but to access these, customers need more and better on-the-go cup recycling facilities to ensure they can be effectively segregated.

To have Caffè Nero, Greggs, McDonald’s UK and Pret A Manger join Costa Coffee in the scheme further validates the impact it is having and the ongoing investment from these brands will help increase the rate at which waste management companies can extend cup recycling services to more customers, increasing the amount of cups they recover for recycling.”

Dominic Paul, Managing Director of Costa Coffee, said: “In April we launched a recycling revolution, establishing a value for a tonne of takeaway cups and committing to incentivising waste management companies to ensure more of them are recycled. We’re delighted with the impact the scheme is having on creating a dynamic market for cup recycling.

Today’s announcement that four of the UK’s largest coffee retailers are now onboard will help accelerate the scheme, whilst challenging us to increase our ambition of recycling 500m by 2020 and working collectively to drive cup recycling and increase consumer awareness about how and where to recycle their cups.”

Alongside the brands commitments to fund recycling, they also provide consumers over 4,000 on-the-go recycling points via their stores, with many also incentivising customers to use reusable cups, offering between 20-50p off drinks in store and selling a range of reusable cups.

Commenting on today’s update, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey, said: “I would like to congratulate these businesses for stepping up to the plate to tackle plastic waste and reduce their environmental impact. The expansion of the Valpak scheme will help even more people do the right thing and recycle disposable cups.

The Government is committed to eliminating avoidable plastic waste, and we will continue to explore ways to encourage reuse and increase recycling rates for takeaway cups.”