Industry

Why would bespoke collection systems not work nationwide?

2 minutes read
7th January, 2018

Let’s debunk the myths behind bespoke collection systems.

There are a number of different initiatives running on the same principle; using a specialist bin to dispose of used coffee cups. These can be found in-store at certain coffee chains and on certain city streets, following a ‘tip, flip & stack’ instruction, the cups are then collected and transported to one of two specialist recycling facilities in the UK.

  • Consumer Behaviour – Our research found only 10% of consumers are using specialist recycling facilities.
  • Disposal – it would be impractical to provide enough separate coffee cup bins on the street to collect the 2.5 billion cups that are used every year. Let’s look at the numbers of the trials so far vs. our nations consumption:
    • 150 bespoke bins have collected 1.8 million cups to date.
    • That’s 0.1% of the UK’s consumption.
    • An excess of 16,500 bespoke bins would be required on the streets of London, and over 100,000 across the UK, to collect all 2.5 billion being used.
  • Logistics – separate coffee cup bins would require an additional collection system to those that already exist, plus the transportation of the cups to the specialist recycling plants located in the north of England.
  • Carbon Footprint – the increased transportation is more environmentally damaging than not recycling the cups.
  • Cost – with the value of the paper approximately £80 a tonne, we suspect the logistics cost would be significantly higher than the revenue returned. 

At Frugalpac we applaud any initiative that reduces waste, but the end goal must be a solution that is scalable, achievable with existing consumer behaviour and uses the current waste collection systems.

* ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,005 adults aged 18+ online between 31st March and 2nd April 2017.  Using Litmus, ICM’s Omnibus service – the data was weighted to be a nationally representative sample.