Biffa launches takeaway cup recycling scheme

Biffa has today (26 January) launched a nationwide recycling service for hot and cold takeaway drinks cups.

The scheme has been launched the year before it becomes mandatory for coffee sellers to recycle fibre-based cups

Available to all UK mainland businesses, the fully integrated disposal, collection and recycling solution sees Biffa provide all the practical and technical help a business needs, from compliance advice to cup disposal points, bags and bins.

The cups are then collected, bulked and baled by Biffa, transporting them in its own fleet of vehicles to a UK paper mill.

More than 62 million single-use tea, coffee and cold drinks cups are discarded in the UK every week. Although many contain cardboard that can be easily recycled into new products and packaging, millions still end up in general waste.

From October 2025, all businesses with 10 or more full-time staff that sell takeaway drinks in fibre-based single-use cups will have to recycle them by law.


Daniel Barrett, of Biffa’s Reactive Services, said: “Far too many recyclable takeaway cups end up in general waste, preventing perfectly good cardboard from being transformed back into new products. But despite the eagerness of many businesses to become more sustainable and compliant, the UK lacked sufficient options for the convenient and efficient nationwide recycling of these cups.

“Now, alongside our disposable vape recycling service and our leading position on surplus redistribution, our takeaway cup scheme shows how we’re actively reducing waste by helping people and businesses re-use, recycle and redistribute as much of it as possible so we can all leave a smaller footprint.”


Biffa explained that alongside re-use and surplus redistribution, “recycling generally produces fewer carbon emissions than disposal and using virgin material to make new goods from scratch”.

The company said its  takeaway cup recycling scheme helps businesses operate more sustainably by entering the circular economy, and ensures they are fully compliant with next year’s legislation.


Coffee cups have formed a central part of many similar systems launched by waste management companies, particularly over the last five years or so.

For example, last year Ecosurety launched a system with City to Sea to encourage the use of reusable cups (see letsrecycle.com story).

Further back, Veolia lauched a ‘street solution’ to coffee cups aiming to capture on the go material (see letsrecycle.com story). Similar schemes have been launched by DS Smith (see letsrecycle.com story) and James Cropper (see letsrecycle.com story).

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