Did you know your single-use cups need to be recycled separately?

In collaboration with the National Cup Recycling Scheme, we are bringing cup recycling to the Highlands for the first time. Read on to learn about the initiative and how to get invovled.

200 million

single-use cups are used and discarded in Scotland every year.


are currently recycled, due to a lack of necessary infrastructure.


of people in the Highlands make an effort to recycle their cups, but only 5% know to do so correctly.

The problem with cups

Single-use cups are a cornerstone of on-the-go food and drink culture.

Like all single-use items, they offer convenience for businesses and consumers. However they are also wasteful, made to be used once and discarded. This contributes to climate change, pollution and other environmental damage. This is why they are subject to upcoming regulations, including a suggested mandatory takeback for recycling.  

We are working to reduce the use of single-use items by promoting alternatives, like reusable cups. However, we also need to reduce the impact of single-use cups that do get used. Recycling allows the materials making up single-use cups to be captured and reused. This can reduce the carbon footprint of cups by 50%.

Only 4% of single-use cups are currently recycled, due to a lack of infrastructure.

Single-use cups are hard to recycle due to their waterproof plastic lining. This means they cannot be recycled at scale with paper, plastic or other mixed materials streams.

They need to be collected and recycled separately.

Bring cup recycling to your community

There is currently limited paper cup recycling infrastructure in the Highlands. We are working to change this with the Cup Box from the National Cup Recycling Scheme

Try it for free!

Building on experience from the Keep Scotland Beautiful Cup Movement campaign, we've teamed up with the National Cup Recycling Scheme to trial their new Cup Box in the Highlands. The pilot will aim to generate insights around how cup recycling can work in the region, with a view to scaling it up.

We are looking for pilot participants in three key settings:

  • Cup retailers – hospitality, food&drink businesses who are interested in recycling the single-use cups they put on the market.
  • Community hubs – who are interested in operating a cup recycling point for their community.
  • Workplaces – to address single-use cup waste at work, whether generated on site or carried in.

Each participant will receive two free boxes to try. In addition, we will provide a guidance and support, including information and marketing materials. 

The Cup Box is...

  • Ordered and uplifted by courier
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Fits up to 700 cups
  • 30cmx30cmx80cm
  • Suitable for plastic lined paper cups only - no compostables or biodegradables

To learn more about the Cup Box and paper cup recycling in general, visit the National Cup Recycling Scheme website.

If you are interested in helping to reduce cup waste in your business or community, get in touch using the form below.

Join us

Interested in taking part in our cup recycling pilot by operating a Cup Box in your business or community? Please provide some more informaton and we'll be in touch.

Please note, this pilot is only available to those within the Highland Council area.

Select all that apply

Have a question? Get in touch: highlandcommunitywaste@keepscotlandbeautiful.org

Highland Cup Recycling map

View all pilot participants to find your nearest Cup Box.

Further information:






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