Pret has announced the expansion of its in-store coffee cup recycling scheme to more than 350 UK stores, following successful pilots in London, Leeds and Glasgow.
The expansion of the in-house coffee cup recycling initiative means that almost 90% of Pret shops across the UK have the capability to recycle paper cups on the shop floor. Pret has confirmed that it is accepting cups from other brands as part of the scheme.
Pret’s director of strategy & sustainability, Laura Gutowski, comments: “Doing our bit for the planet is enormously important to us at Pret. We are absolutely committed to improving recycling rates of our coffee cups and we want it to be as easy as possible for customers – and those passing our shops – to get involved.”
The materials from the cups will be separated and recycled to create high-quality stationery and packaging products.
This initiative forms part of Pret’s wider environmental incentives, such as last year’s decision to double its discount for customers who bring in their own reusable cup, to 50p; since then, usage of reusable cups has increased almost 20-fold. Over 150,000 drinks are now served in reusable cups every week, and Pret has avoided the use of more than six million paper cups since doubling the discount.
In addition to its own scheme, Pret is a part of the Valpak scheme, a nationwide cup recycling scheme that funds the collection of paper coffee cups for recycling. Contributors to the scheme pay a supplement for every tonne of cups collected, making it more commercially and financially attractive for waste collectors to put in place the infrastructure and processes to collect, sort and transport coffee cups to recycling facilities.
Between 2016 and 2018 UK paper cup recycling rates increased 16-fold, reaching 1 in 25 cups recycled in 2018. In 2019 the number of cups recycled in the UK reached 120 million.