Did you know that the UK still fails to recycle over 50% of its waste? What’s more, 99% of the 2.5 billion coffee cups used in the UK each year are either dumped or burnt, with less than 1% being recycled even when put in the recycling bin.

Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s TV show Hugh’s War on Waste focused one episode on the recyclability of Starbuck’s coffee cups. And it turns out that while we assume these kinds of coffee cups are recyclable, they’re not, with people being misled by “greenwash”.

According to Hugh’s research the cups can’t be recycled properly because of the plastic lining. The construction of the cups makes them hard to recycle with a mixture of plastic coatings and paper being difficult and costly to separate.

However, now the lining is said to help the recycling process. New technology means cups can now be blended with recycled plastic and turned into new products.

A new social experiment has risen in one of Manchester’s busiest streets, Oxford Road, which places giant coffee cup bins to engage and encourage the public to recycle their coffee cups. Hubbub has teamed up with Manchester City Council, high-street coffee retailers and designers with a vision of turning the waste into something beneficial for their community.

#1MoreShot launched on 12 October for the months leading up to Christmas. During this time, Manchester residents will be challenged to recycle 20,000 coffee cups in 11 of the new giant coffee cup recycling bins. The cups will then be recycled into 13,000 flower pots, which will be placed around the city so people can see how their recycling efforts can benefit the community.

Bearing in mind that just 1% of the 2.5 billion paper and plastic hybrid coffee cups used in the UK each year are recycled, we have a long way to go. So, this new initiative could prove a massive step in the right direction.

Gavin Ellis,  Hubbub co-founder, says: “This new initiative will test an innovative new technology and discover whether the public will separate out their coffee cups if specialist bins are provided. We urgently need to change the way we dispose of the 2.5 billion paper cups that are thrown away every year, as currently only one in 400 cups are being recycled. If this is successful, it can be extended to other cities across the UK as a number of local authorities have already put their name forward.”

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