Collection and recycling service

About cup recycling

Paper cups, which are a major proportion of the single-use cups in circulation, require a special process to be recycled. This is because the inside of the cup is coated with a type of plastic film (polyethylene) which keeps the liquid in the cup and stops the rest of the material getting soggy. Most paper processing plants are unable to separate this out, which makes paper cups virtually unrecyclable, and means the cups end up in with general waste.

Following the establishment of two specialist cup recycling plants, Simply Cups has developed and operates a recycling service for both paper and plastic cups. Through Cup Movement, we are working with them to make this available in Scotland, providing a solution that will massively increase the current 4% recycling rate for single-use cups.

How does the Simply Cups collection and recycling service work?

As a member of Cup Movement, one of the benefits you will receive is access to special rates for the Simply Cups recycling service. The cost of the recycling service will vary depending on your specific needs and volume of cups to be recycled.

Step 1

To enable the cups to be collected and recycled, they first need to be separated from the rest of your waste. There are two ways to do this:

  • You can purchase public facing cup recycling bins from Simply Cups for your staff / customers to use. There are a variety of shapes and sizes for these and you can view the full range along with the prices on the Simply Cups website.
  • You can choose to separate the cups in a way that is convenient to you or sort your cups from general bins, putting the cups into a specific container*.

*The most important part of this process is that the cups are separated from all other waste types. The single-use cups can only be recycled if they not contaminated with other waste.

Step 2

Simply Cups requires all cups to be placed inside their bin sacks. If cups are stacked in these bags they will hold 500 cups, but they will only hold around 100 unstacked cups. There is a small cost for these sacks which covers the cost of collecting and recycling the cups. If the cups are sorted back of house, they will still need to be placed in the bin sacks.

Step 3

The bin sacks need to be stored in a separate container in your bin store area. Simply Cups provide a bin rental service if you require an additional bin for the cups. Simply Cups will agree a collection frequency with you that suits your specific needs and requirements.

Step 4

Your cups will be collected by ScotWaste, who bulk and bale them before taking them to a recycling facility, where they are shredded and either turned into new paper or mixed with other recycled plastics and made into new products.

Cup Movement: partners and industry

Find out who we are working with on our Cup Movement.


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