#1MoreShot in Manchester was our first trial coffee cup recycling campaign. Almost 30,000 used coffee cups were collected in bright yellow coffee cup shaped bins on Oxford Road from October ’16 to February ’17. The cups have now been recycled into bird feeders, plant pot holders and chalk boards by eco product design company Ashortwalk.


The first of these products are being donated to the local community as part of a wider campaign to green Manchester’s Centenary Gardens. Showing local residents that the cups were being recycled into products that would benefit the neighbourhood was an essential element of the campaign for Hubbub. We are delighted that by collaborating with a wide range of partners this is now happening.

From Manchester to London and key lessons learnt

The lessons from #1MoreShot led to a much more ambitious campaign launched in the heart of London in April. The #SquareMileChallenge brought together a wider coalition of organisations and by the end of June had successfully collected 1.2 million cups for recycling. Once again, a significant amount was learned and we have produced a detailed impact report sharing what was discovered. The hope is that this will inspire other communities to implement similar initiatives.

What next?

Thanks to the success of the two campaigns, we have been asked to present results to manufacturers and retailers in Germany and are exploring a trial campaign with them in Munich or Cologne. A meeting has been held with Sadiq Khan’s environment team to help inform the launch of the Mayor’s forthcoming strategy. We are also seeking to persuade the existing coalition of partner organisations to invest in further campaigns. The overall ambition is to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle their coffee cups in a way that is low cost and resource efficient.

The campaigns are an important start to addressing the waste impact of the seven million coffee cups that are thrown away across the UK every day, but more needs to be done.

We are encouraged that the industry is collaborating and seeking ways to create new cups that can be recycled through existing facilities. The public also has a role to play. Many retailers are offering a fairly hefty discount on coffee if people bring their own reusable cup. Despite these incentives the number of people doing so is incredibly small around the 2 or 3% mark.

A movement to prevention

Once we feel confident that the recycling campaigns that have been initiated are starting to spread under their own momentum, we will be seeking to create new behaviour change campaigns promoting the use of renewable cups.

The backdrop to all this activity is a growing call from some politicians and pressure groups to introduce deposit legislation. As part of the government’s Litter Strategy, a group has been created to get a deeper understanding of the impact such legislation will have and it will be intriguing to hear their findings.

Join the collaboration

If you are interested in joining the partnership working to create a new route for coffee cups, we would love to hear from you: [email protected].

With thanks to supporters:

#1MoreShot: Caffè Nero, Costa, Greggs, KFC, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Pret A Manger and Waitrose.

#SquareMileChallenge: 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.