Bristol rolls out 100 paper cup recycling bins

Bristol city council are to roll out 100 paper cup recycling bins across the city from today (29 January) through its waste management arm Bristol Waste, with the aim of recycling up to four million cups in the first year.

And, waste management company Veolia and Camden council have together launched a project aiming to recycle more than half a million paper cups.

According to Bristol Waste, three billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK

Bristol’s recycling bins will be placed along commuter routes throughout central Bristol and in shopping areas such as The Mall Cribbs Causeway, the Galleries and Cabot Circus.

Gwen Frost, head of sustainability and innovation at Bristol Waste, said: “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, and support us on our mission to help Bristol waste nothing.”

Once collected, the cups will be baled at the Bristol Waste site in Avonmouth, before being sent the James Cropper paper mill in the Lake District.


Bristol Waste Company was awarded the funding for the project by environmental charity Hubbub and its grant fund The Cup Fund.

Gavin Ellis, director and co-founder of Hubbub, said: “Twelve 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.”


Meanwhile, funded by a £50,000 grant from Hubbub, the Camden Recycles Cups project will see businesses and independent cafes across the borough offered free cup recycling collections.

Its #InTheLoop scheme will also see Veolia street cleansing operatives collect and recycle paper cups separately, reducing contamination of on-street bins.

A Veolia street operative collecting waste including paper cups

Michael Clarke, general manager for Veolia Central London, said: “We are pleased to commence activities for the Camden Recycles Cups project that will see the recycling of 570,000 coffee cups in Camden.

“All of these will go to dedicated recycling facilities, where the outer cardboard layer will be separated from the plastic lining, so it can be made into something new, closing the loop entirely.

“This programme is one of the many ways we’re working with Camden council to promote sustainable waste behaviours, and we hope it leads residents to take the next step and use reusable cups as the first choice, reducing disposable cup waste as much as possible.”

Climate change

Camden’s new programme has been developed by Veolia and Camden Climate Change Alliance, Camden council’s sustainability network.

Hubbub’s #InTheLoop scheme was launched with a paper cup art installation

Camden Climate Change Alliance, founded in 2008 by the council and local businesses, says it aims to contribute to a low-emission and low-waste Camden, which would improve local air quality, mitigate climate change and close the loop on waste.

It had committed to reducing carbon emissions in the borough by 40% by 2020.

Adam Harrison, cabinet member for Improving Camden’s Environment, said: “Using a reusable cup for takeaway coffee will reduce the amount of waste we collect. However, when it comes to takeaway coffee cups, we understand there is still a lot of confusion around how to correctly dispose of them and we want to make it easier for people to use the right bins.

“As part of The Cup Fund, we will be placing coffee cup recycling points in offices and coffee shops, as well as asking our street sweepers to collect them separately, so they can be correctly recycled.”


Hubbub, with the support of Starbucks, launched The Cup Fund in 2019, a grant fund which aims to kickstart paper cup recycling across the UK.

Grant funding of between £50,000 to £100,000 has been made available to suitable projects.

Hubbub’s efforts to drive paper cup recycling have been well-documented during the last few years, with the charity running the ‘Square Mile Challenge’ in May 2017, which called on major employers in the City of London to recycle half a million coffee cups (see letsrecycle.com story).

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