Calls to crack down on coffee cup recycling in UK

A TV show by UK Celebrity Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has prompted an online campaign calling on coffee retailers to ensure their disposable cups are recyclable. A recent episode of Fearnley-Whittingstall’s show, Hugh’s War On Waste, focused on the fact that disposable cups from many mainstream coffee retailers such as Starbucks, Caffe Nero and Costa are not able to be recycled because they are made with polyethylene. The UK has recently made headlines around the world for drastically reducing the use of plastic bags after the introduction of a mandatory five pence charge for every plastic bags used. In the first six months of the policy, the UK’s plastic bag usage dropped from 3.5 billion to 500 million. There are 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups used in the UK each year, prompting environmental advocates to call for a similar measure to be taken with coffee.

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