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Workers in the City of London are being urged to use brand new recycling points established across the Square Mile as part of the UK’s biggest push to date to tackle the issue of disposable coffee cup recycling.

The City of London Corporation, Network Rail, national coffee retailers and some of the Square Mile’s biggest employers have joined forces in the Square Mile Challenge initiative led by environmental charity Hubbub, in partnership with recycling company Simply Cups. The scheme introduced coffee cup recycling facilities across the City and aims to collect and recycle half a million cups in the City of London throughout April 2017, rising to 5 million by the end of the year.

More than 100 high street coffee retailers are offering recycling facilities and accepting coffee cups in their stores, regardless of where they were purchased. There are unmissable Square Mile Challenge bins in the shape of bright yellow coffee cups in place on the City’s streets and cups will be collected at both Liverpool Street and Cannon Street stations during rush hour every week day throughout the month.

Employers are playing their part, with over 30 organisations based in the City including Lloyd’s, Deloitte, Prudential, The Barbican Centre, London Metropolitan University and major business premises such as The Leadenhall building collecting paper coffee cups in their offices, helping divert them into a new waste stream.

Every day up to seven million coffee cups are thrown away across the UK, with less than 1 per cent of them recycled. The issue to date has been the plastic film on the inside of the paper cups, which means that the cups can rarely be recycled with other mixed recycling. The recycling methods used for the Square Mile Challenge will process the cups to create either a plastic or recovered fibre material which is made into new products.

The initiative has been made possible with the support of coffee retailers: Caffè Nero, Costa, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Pret A Manger, Starbucks, Bunzl Catering Supplies and coffee cup manufacturers: Benders Paper Cups, Dart Products Europe, Huhtamaki and SEDA International Packaging Group.

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