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2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK and we aim to recycle as many as possible through our Coffee Cup recycling scheme.


The Cup Fund project so far

‘We believe that to create positive environmental change at the scale and speed needed, we need to get everyone on board.’ – Hubbub

In 2019 we were successfully awarded a funding grant from Environmental charity Hubbub. The Cup Fund project aims to “kickstart cup recycling across the UK”, with money raised through Starbucks’ 5p single-use coffee cup charge.

Across two London universities, we launched a joint initiative to improve coffee cup recycling. This included the implementation of reverse vending machines and eye-catching visuals around campus. The seamless launch bore fruit at both universities and has continued throughout 2020.

Through hard work and innovation, we continue to work together to recycle as many coffee cups as possible – Last year we recycled 91 bags!


New term, new students, new initiatives

With students returning to campuses – slowly but surely – the campaign is beginning to kick start again, welcoming new and existing students to take part. Continued support from the Universities demonstrates commitment to increased sustainability, even in trying times:

‘As part of our Plastic Free LSE campaign, we promote reusable coffee cups on campus. The introduction of the Cup Fund initiative on the LSE campus provides students and staff a way to recycle single-use cups as a complement to this. Working together with Bywaters and the Cup Fund enabled us to install eye-catching cup bins and a reverse vending machine in our Student Union, as well as engaging visuals and communications.’ – Elena Rivilla Lutterkort, Sustainability Projects Officer, LSE

Unfortunately, last year was cut short due to the Covid19 lockdown. However, we have been working to update visuals and promote the scheme across campus, maximising the use of the reverse vending machines.

To boost engagement, we continue to offer discounts on hot drinks, provide dedicated coffee cup bins around site and provide competition prizes.


The importance of awareness, making a difference and increasing recycling

Despite a global pandemic recycling is just as important as ever! Especially with the increase of single use items and a lack of understanding of how to dispose of them.

The rise of disposable masks, latex gloves and hand sanitiser bottles has massively impacted the amount of litter and marine debris being found along our coasts and countryside’s. Therefore, we must continue our efforts to increase recycling and educate others in how they can make a difference. Being part of The Cup Fund helps to change behaviour and Bywaters are committed to be part of the journey in doing so.

To put this into perspective ‘2.5 billion coffee cups  are  used  and  thrown  away  each  year  in  the  UK’. Coffee cups are notoriously difficult to recycle due to their composite of both paper and plastic. However, we send these to specialist mills, able to separate the different elements to be recycled, transported from site by fully electric collection vehicles.

Bywaters are proud to be in partnership with The London School of Economics and The University of Westminster. We would like to thank both institutions for their continued involvement in the project– If you would like to know more, or to speak with one of our recycling experts, please get in touch today.



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