Starbucks is to trial a British-made cup which can be recycled after it was found nearly all paper coffee cups are thrown away.
The US company has responded to concerns that as many as 2.5 billion disposable cups are dumped or incinerated every year in the UK.
Most people are under the impression that the takeaway cups handed out by the coffee shop chains can be recycled.
But 399 out of every 400 are not because they are made with a plastic coating that means they cannot be processed.
British entrepreneur Martin Myerscough has developed the recyclable Frugalpac cup, which has a thin plastic membrane that floats away during the paper recycling process, meaning the materials can be re-used.
Earlier this year anti-waste campaigner and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched a campaign against coffee cup waste. Starbucks agreed to offer customers a 50p discount on drinks if they brought in their own cups, and is now going one step further by agreeing to run a trial on the new ‘green’ cups.
A spokesman said: ‘We are very interested in finding out more about the Frugalpac cup and we will be testing it to see if it meets our standards for safety and quality with a view to trialling its recyclability.’
The coffee cups disposed of every year would go around the world five-and-a-half times and weigh as much as a battleship they were put end-to-end.
The packaging industry and coffee retailers launched a Paper Cup Manifesto in June that aims to increase paper cup recovery and recycling.
The manifesto has more than 30 signatories representing suppliers, manufacturers, high street brands to waste processors. They include Starbucks, McDonald’s and Costa.
The coffee cup campaign is to feature in a BBC documentary, Hugh’s War on Waste: The Battle Continues, to be screened on Thursday next week.
Mr Myerscough said: ‘It’s great to see Hugh’s campaign has had such an effect and that there’s now a real commitment across the industry to tackle this problem. People were shocked to learn that existing paper cups are only used once and rarely get recycled.
‘We’ve spent the last two years developing our cup and we hope now that coffee chains and cup producers will see Frugalpac as an answer to this issue.’
He added: ‘The unique way we make our cups allows us to use recycled paper and not virgin cardboard from mature trees. It also means we don’t have to add waterproofing agents to the paper. Our cups are acceptable to all normal paper mills.
‘We really hope that Frugalpac becomes the standard in the industry so people can get on with enjoying their coffee without worrying about what damage the cup does to the environment afterwards.’Daily Mail