New bins could help Bristol recycle 4 million cups

Bristol’s new cup bins will be placed along key commuter routes throughout central Bristol, allowing people to recycle their cups on the go as well as popular shopping areas such as The Mall Cribbs Causeway, the Galleries and Cabot Circus.

We’ve teamed up with One Tree Per Child and pledged to plant a tree for every 10,000 cups recycled, so in addition to giving the cup another life using one of the new bins will also have local environmental benefits.

Three billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK, with less than 4% currently recycled. Every day, approximately 7.5 million coffee cups are disposed of as litter.

Thousands of paper cups are thrown away every day in Bristol. Every paper cup popped in one of the convenient cup bins will get a second life as high-quality paper, packaging and stationery products.

Once collected from the new bins, the cups are baled at the Bristol Waste site in Avonmouth, before being sent to the James Cropper paper mill in the Lake District. Here the plastic lining is removed from the cup, allowing the paper to be recycled and turned in to high-quality items such as notebooks and paper shopping bags.

A graphic of a new Bristol Waste disposable cup recycling bin

For Cups Sake!

We're working with Hubbub and James Cropper to recycle single-use takeaway paper cups within Bristol, so far the campaign has seen the installation of 30 paper cup bins rolled out across the city.

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder of Hubbub said:

“While reusable cups are the most environmentally friendly choice, billions of paper cups are still being used each year and most aren’t recycled. We know that people generally want to do the right thing with recycling, but three in four people are still unaware that cups need to be collected separately from normal card and paper.

“12 Cup Fund projects across the UK are helping to raise awareness and introduce eye-catching cup recycling points in high footfall locations, and we hope to make it as easy as possible for Bristolians to recycle their cups when they’re out and about.”

Richard Burnett, recovered fibre expert at James Cropper tells us:

“Disposable cups are made up of 95% high-quality paper fibre with a 5% thin coating of polyethylene (plastic). Using our unique CupCyclingTM facility, which has the capacity to upcycle 500 million cups every year, 95% of waste is converted back into paper and energy is derived from the remaining plastic in the production of recycled paper. This gives a second life to valuable fibre and creates a closed-loop solution to the global problem of disposable cup waste.”

A Bristol Waste coffee cup bin in front of Bristol Cathedral

The Cup Fund

Funding for the project was awarded through leading environmental charity, Hubbub, who launched The Cup Fund thanks to the 5p charge on disposable coffee cups voluntarily introduced by Starbucks to reduce plastic pollution.