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Coffee cup recycling debate casts doubt on recyclable options

06 February 2018

Response to a move towards the use of biodegradable disposable cups has seen the British Coffee Association cast doubts on the effectiveness of the proposal, according to the The Independent.

With facilities in all areas increasingly including cafes and catering options, the issue of recycling disposable cups is becoming increasingly important within sustainability strategies.

The issue has arisen due to the difficulty in recycling the plastic-lined cups currently widely used by retailers, further exacerbated due to the rising numbers being used on a daily basis.

Although biodegradable cups were thought to provide a more sustainable alternative than plastic-lined cups, they will also require specialist processing to avoid them being sent to landfill.

British Coffee Association executive director Chris Stemman said: "It's a problem because at the moment there isn't huge capacity either for manufacturing or indeed disposing of biodegradable cups."

Mr Stemman stated that smaller retailers were now changing to the use of compostable cups in response to growing concern over the issue.

There was a more enthusiastic response to the use of reusable cups, which have "a serious place and we would encourage their further use," said Mr Stemman.

The use of reusable cups are also being promoted by The Independent's Cut the Cup Waste campaign.

A levy has been proposed by the government's Environmental Audit Committee to raise money to improve the UK's disposable cup processing facilities.

Mr Stemman has also supported moves for increased investment to develop more recycling facilities for plastic-lined cups.

The number of coffee shops and cafes is additionally predicted to rise over the next few years, adding further to the issue of recycling disposable cups.

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