and help recycle half a million cups in one month

Hubbub is calling on major employers within the City of London to help recycle half a million coffee cups in April, and 5 million by the end of 2017. The Square Mile Challenge brings an unprecedented coalition of organisations together to launch the UK’s biggest push to date to tackle the issue of disposable coffee cup recycling. The first 30 businesses with over 500 employees to sign up to the Square Mile Challenge will receive discounted support to establish coffee cup recycling facilities in their premises.

The challenge starts in April in London’s Square Mile, which holds the UK’s biggest concentration of office workers. The City of London, Network Rail, coffee retailers, manufacturers and some of the Square Mile’s biggest employers, including Lloyd’s and Eversheds, are joining forces to introduce coffee cup recycling facilities across the city.

The issue with coffee cups

Every day up to 7 million coffee cups are thrown away across the UK, with less than 1% of these cups thought to be recycled. The tricky 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.

Join the largest commitment to tackle the issue yet

The City of London will be the first area in the UK to undertake such a significant commitment to tackling the problem of coffee cup waste. In April facilities to collect disposable coffee cups will be installed on the street, in stations, coffee shops and businesses across the Square Mile with the ambition to recycle half a million cups in that first month.

This is a major step up from a pilot scheme we have been running in Manchester, which has seen 20,000 cups recycled from one street over three months. If successful we are is hoping that the Square Mile Challenge will encourage other parts of the UK to follow suit, aiming to reach a point where recycling levels for coffee cups are on a par with those for drinks cans and bottles.

This initiative has been made possible with the support of Bunzl, Costa, Huhtamaki, Marks and Spencer, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Pret A Manger, Starbucks and a group of the leading coffee cup manufacturers. It follows the launch of the Paper Cup Manifesto in June 2016, which garnered over 40 signatories from companies involved in the coffee industry, committing to improve recovery and increase recycling of paper cups.

For further information on joining the Square Mile Challenge please visit or email [email protected].