In the UK, up to 7 million coffee cups are thrown away every day. Less than 1% of these are recycled because most disposable cups are lined with plastic to prevent liquid from leaking out or soaking through the paper.  However, the lining is tightly bonded with the paper so the materials can’t be easily separated and are therefore very difficult to recycle.

In a bid to solve this, Cushman & Wakefield are piloting CupClub in their London offices. Launched in August, the commercial real estate services company are removing their single use coffee cups and replacing them with branded reusable cups to reduce the business’ environmental impact.

CupClub provides a daily supply of clean coffee cups. Consumers return the cups to a designated spot, which are then collected and washed offsite by Cupclub. As well as being an ideal fix if there are limited washing facilities on site, it works out more water efficient to use Cupclub even when compared to running ceramic mugs through onsite dishwashers. Overall the scheme claims a 48% reduction in carbon emissions when compared to any other coffee cup alternative.

Cushman & Wakefield have also found that the 15p charge per cup has worked out more cost effective than purchasing traditional paper cups.  As the pilot begins, the businesses have worked together to spread the new message to all staff. The project aims to change behaviour from a throwaway culture to a ‘drink and drop’ mechanism. Further, the cups are microchipped for tracking to reduce the number of cups that go missing in the business. 

We’ll be watching the trial of CupClub closely and reporting back on its success.