Recycling your paper cups

Where to recycle your paper cups

All of the cups manufactured by Huhtamaki in the UK are either recyclable or our Bioware paper cups are certified as compostable in industrial composting facilities (EN13432).

Huhtamaki's recyclable cups have a Polyethylene (PE) inner lining. This lining ensures that the cup is safe to use and ensures that it holds the content safely, hot or cold.

There is a growing and accessible recycling infrastructure through instore recycling schemes, ACE UK Bring Banks, a wide range of national and regional waste contractors and specialist cup recycling schemes.

The PCRRG reported in October 2018, that paper cup recycling rates have increased from an estimated 1:400 in 2016, and two years on 1:25 cups are recycled. It is estimated to increase further to 1:12 in 2019.

More than 4,500 new paper cup recycling points are available to consumers in the UK through bring banks and in-store takeback opportunities.


Below are further details of how to recycle your paper cups.



Instore: A number of high street stores offer cup recycling. For instance, you can take your used paper cup to any Costa Coffee or McDonalds nationwide, any size of cup or any brand, for it to be recycled as well as a growing number of Starbucks, Pret A Manager and Caffe Nero stores.


ACE UK Bring Banks: ACE UK owns and manages a network of 430 Bring Banks in over 115 local authorities across the UK. You can take your used paper cup to any of the Bring Banks and then they will be delivered to ACE UK's reprocessing facility for recycling. Bring Banks are usually situated next to bottle banks in in major retail parks.

ACE UK has been collecting and reprocessing beverage/juice cartons for many years and now has been able to accept used paper cups into its network.

To find out where your nearest ACE UK Bring Banks is, please use their interactive map and search for your postcode:

Operators, outlets and brands

Our paper cups can be recycled either via your general waste contractor or specialist paper cup recycling schemes. We are committed to increasing recycling rates to make it easier for consumers to recycle our products.

We are proud to be a founding member of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG), a fully funding signatory of the ACE UK agreement and a member of the Simply Cups recycling scheme.

Collection and recycling services are available which will enable the paper cups that you use to be recycled.

Here are details of some of the current cup recycling initiatives and waste contractors and more and more are being developed and implemented. In the first instance please contact your existing waste contractor. Please note regional coverage, minimum collection quantities, eligibility and terms and conditions may apply.


Waste management support scheme

In April 2018, Costa Coffee launched a waste management support scheme whereby they pay a supplement to incentivise waste collectors to collect paper cups. This enables them to invest in the infrastructure that can increase the collection and recycling rates of paper cups. To find out more please visit:

December 2018, it was announced that Caffe Nero, Greggs, McDonald's UK and Pret A Manager were joining Valpak's industry-wide scheme which collect coffee cups and sends them for recycling.

Launched by Costa Coffee in April 2018, the ValPak Scheme is a market-led solution whereby coffee retailers pay a supplement of £70 to the waste collectors for every tonne of cups collected. This takes the value of one tonne of cups from being worth on average £50 to £120, a 140% increase, making it commercially and financially attractive for waste collectors to put in place the infrastructure and processes to collect, sort and transport coffee cups to recycling plants

Simply Cups

Simply Cups is the UK's only paper and plastic cup collection and recycling service. They work directly with customers to help segregate the materials, collect, bulk and send our paper cups to reprocessors for recycling.

Simply Cups also offer a post back service which provides an opportunity for organisations generating a small volume of cups and/or on an infrequent basis to participate in the scheme. to find out more on the post back service please visit their website or contact Simply Cups:

For more information please visit: or contact Simply Cups on 0808 168 8787 or via


First Mile

First Mile provide a simple, low cost recycling and waste services for businesses in London and Birmingham. First Mile are specialists in recycling for offices  and work with businesses of all shapes and sizes, retailers and also by working in partnership with Facility Management Teams to deliver outstanding recycling and waste services for valued clients.

For more information please visit:  call First Mile on 0800 612 9894 or complete our enquiry form and one of the team from First Mile will get back to you:


For a selection of other waste management companies who provide cup collection and recycling services please visit the PCRRG website:



ACE UK agreement

In October 2017, an agreement was signed with ACE UK (Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment) and 15 fully funding signatories from across the supply chain for disposable paper cups. ACE UK opened up its waste reprocessing facility in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and its network of community Bring Bank collection points to recycle used paper cups. ACE UK has been collecting and reprocessing beverage/juice cartons for many years and under the agreement will accept used paper cups into its network.

Waste contractors can deliver used paper cups directly to ACE UK's recycling facility.

ACE UK owns and manages a network of 430 Bring Banks covering 112 local authorities across the UK to enable consumers to dispose of their used paper cups. ACE UK has an interactive recycling map so consumers can find their nearest Bring Bank from their postcode:

For more information please visit: or contact ACE UK on 01606 530320 or via



Veolia are a UK leader in environmental solutions and provide a comprehensive range of waste, water and energy management services. Veolia work with a number of their clients within the coffee shop and retail sector on recycling initiatives to separate their paper cups from the general waste as soon as the customer has enjoyed their drink.

Veolia recently announced that they will collect 120 million paper cups in 2019, to read more please visit:

For more information please visit: or contact Veolia on 0345 606 0460 or via the enquiry form on


James Cropper

CupCycling by James Cropper is the world's first recycling process dedicated to upcycling takeaway paper cups and turning them into beautiful papers. CupCycling is all about collaboration and working with supply chain partners and brands who care about the environment.

For more information please visit: or contact James Cropper on 01539 722002 or via


DS Smith

In March 2018, DS Smith announced that following recent trials, their state-of-the-art paper mill at Kemsley Mill in Kent has the capacity to recycle up to 2.5 billion paper cups. Trials proved that when paper coffee cups are segregated and collected separately, DS Smith can produce high quality paper.

For more information please visit:


Did you know…?

- All of Huhtamaki’s products are designed to serve the growing demand for on the go food and drink with responsibly sourced and manufactured products that are designed to minimize environmental impacts across the value chain and we continuously innovate to improve the sustainability of our existing and new products


- All of the cups manufactured by Huhtamaki in the UK are either recyclable or certified as compostable in industrial composting facilities


- All of the cups manufactured by Huhtamaki in the UK are made using paperboard certified by the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification. This means that it is made from wood that is sourced from sustainably managed forest


- Huhtamaki's recyclable cups have a polyethylene inner lining. This lining ensures that the cup is safe to use and ensures that it holds the content, hot or cold, safely


- In the UK it has been difficult for businesses and consumers to ensure that their used cups are recycled after use. In order for cups to be recycled, they must first be collected for recycling and then sent to an appropriate recycling facility but the infrastructure for the capture and collection of used cups has been limited in the UK


- Huhtamaki, the paper cup and retail beverage industry and industry groups such as the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group have been working to increase the number of collection points for used cups through in-store collection, single site initiatives, local projects focused on cup collection and recycling and by working with waste collection service providers


We use PEFC certified paperboard from sustainably managed forests

The essential starting point for assessing the environmental performance of packaging is understanding the property requirements set for the packaging throughout its entire life cycle.  Sustainability is an important part of our raw material sourcing. Currently, the majority of our paperboard comes from The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified sustainably managed forests.

The material used in our paper cups is predominantly virgin wood fiber (also known as primary fiber) that has not previously been used in the manufacture of paperboard. Fiber is classified as a renewable natural resource that can be recycled. The thin polyethylene (PE)  plastic moisture barrier layer used in the cup stock can be separated industrially and the fiber material used for example for core board production. The packages can also be incinerated. Although this would produce carbon dioxide emissions, it does not add carbon to the carbon cycle. Paper cups are climate change neutral since most of the material used is renewable.

We explore continuously the field of new renewable and recyclable materials and employ them when cost and functional performance match with the needs of our customers. Huhtamaki has been a pioneer in use of biodegradable and renewable raw materials. We launched our first biodegradable paper cup in 1995 and complete EN13432 certified compostable packaging range called BioWare in 2004. Since then, BioWare has grown to become the industry's most complete environmentally sound foodservice packaging range.

We are pioneers in use of recycled resin and bioplastics

We were among the first companies in introducing recycled PET and compostable Ingeo PLA into our plastic thermoforming processes for high clarity cold drink cups and food containers. Today we are working actively in finding environmentally sustainable material solutions for hot drink and food applications.


To view our Group Sustainability information, please visit:

of our paper cup plants are PEFC audited

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is and international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicted to promoting Sustainble Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification. PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practise in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards.