Costa Coffee has announced that it wants to start a ’cup recycling revolution’ by recycling the same volume of disposable cups as it sells by 2020.

Under the scheme, 500 million coffee cups a year would be recycled. Costa wants to encourage waste collection firms to process the cups by paying them a supplement of £70 a tonne.

The company is the first coffee chain in the UK to commit to such a pledge. Costa has also confirm that the scheme will include disposable cups sold through its Express coffee machines.

Retailers who have an Express machine in their store will be able to set up a ‘cup collection’ via their own waste contractor and have the disposable cups recovered from their sites.

Costa md Dominic Paul said: “Costa is putting its money where its mouth is to find an immediate solution to increasing the volume of takeaway coffee cups being recycled in the UK. It also dispels the myth that coffee cups can’t be recycled!

“Following today’s announcement up to 100 million cups will be recycled this year alone and if the nation’s other coffee chains sign up, there is no reason why all takeaway cups could not be recycled by as early as 2020.”

Around 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK.

Commenting on the announcement, environment minister Thérèse Coffey, said: ”We all have a responsibility to our environment and this is a significant step by a British business which should dramatically increase the number of disposable coffee cups we recycle in this country.”

Costa introduced a nationwide in-store recycling scheme in February 2017, accepting any branded disposable cup. The company also offers a 25p discount to all customers that use a reusable cup.

Catherine Joce of Cambridge Consultants believes the use of technology could improve the recycling process.

“The coffee cup is a classic example where consumers struggle to decide if it should go in the general waste, recycling or composting waste stream. Even if it is clear which type of coffee cup they have in their hand, they are unlikely to know whether the infrastructure is in place to process it properly. Using technology to take these decisions out of the hands of the consumer will lead to significant improvements in recyclate quality,” she said.