Starbucks signs a ground-breaking agreement with ACE UK to boost paper cup recycling

Starbucks today announced that it has signed an agreement with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK) to accelerate UK recycling of PE lined paper cups. Starbucks is one of fourteen businesses to sign the cross-industry collaboration, which will work towards delivering a long-term, nationwide paper cup recycling solution which complements and builds on the recycling activities achieved so far by Starbucks and the paper cup industry.

Using ACE UK’s extensive recycling expertise gained by running the beverage carton industry’s recycling programme, Starbucks and 13 other companies that have signed the agreement will fund an activity programme that will give many more people access to recycling for paper cups.

The programme includes: 

From 1st January 2018, all ACE UK bring banks will accept paper cups for recycling, delivering an additional 382 recycling points located in 97 local authorities across the UK, with a further 33 recycling points across an additional eight local authorities scheduled during the next phase

Cups from these recycling points will be processed at ACE UK’s recycling facility in Halifax

Drawing on its experience and existing relationships with local authorities, waste management organisations and recycling bodies, ACE UK will work to include cups in local authority kerbside collections. Currently 66% of local authorities collect beverage cartons at kerbside, in addition to those which collect through bring banks, and we hope to achieve similar levels of coverage for cups

ACE UK has been successfully running the beverage carton industry’s recycling programme for the last 10 years driving significant increases in carton recycling as part of its role as the UK beverage carton industry trade body. During this time, ACE UK has worked closely with local authorities and waste management companies so that today 92% of local authorities collect beverage cartons for recycling through either bring banks or kerbside collection.

Jaz Rabadia, Senior Manager Energy and Initiatives, Starbucks EMEA, said “Paper cup waste is a complex but important issue across the industry. We are committed to minimising our impact on the environment, and to reduce our environmental footprint we focus on three main areas: reducing the waste associated with our business, increasing recycling rates and promoting the use of reusable cups.  We are proud to support ACE UK in helping to find a solution to increase the recycling rate of paper cups.”

Commenting on the agreement, Richard Hands, CEO of ACE UK, said: “The paper cup industry is facing very similar recycling challenges to the ones the beverage carton industry faced when we started our programme ten years ago. Whilst our primary focus will remain on increasing beverage carton recycling, we believe our expertise, experience and existing relationships can help the paper cup industry create a step change in cup recycling. Whilst it is early days, we have a clear measured plan agreed and expect to see significant progress in cup recycling over the next two and a half years and beyond.”