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We would love to hear from you to discuss how you can join in our movement. Please either complete and submit the form below or contact us directly via e-mail and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


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The Cup Collective

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Issue
    • Why can't paper cups just go in the standard recycling bin?

      Paper cups require a barrier coating to enable the retention of liquid, without which they would not be fit for purpose. Whilst some markets and paper mills will accept paper cups as part of the paper stream, some current mechanical sorting processes do not have the capability to segregate paper cups from a co-mingled stream and therefore dedicated schemes help collect and realise the full value of the high-quality fibre.

    • Do you accept all types of paper cups?

      The Cup Collective is primarily targeted for paper cups with a plastic-based or water-based dispersion coating, which can effectively be recycled into new paper and board products at specific recycling facilities. However, all types of paper cups, including compostable cups, which are disposed to collection units will be collected for recycling.

    • Why don’t you advocate the use of reusable cups?

      We believe that a mix of solutions are required for beverage service, with the industrial scale recycling of paper cups being fundamental to optimizing circularity for use in the takeaway sector.

  • About The Cup Collective
    • What is The Cup Collective?

      The Cup Collective is a collaborative industry initiative to increase paper cup recycling across Europe to an industrial scale, aiming to see recycling of paper cups surpass a minimum of 5,000 tonnes in the coming years.

    • Does The Cup Collective offer a direct collection service?

      TCC is seeking to support existing cup collection schemes or facilitate the creation of new cup collection schemes. If required, we will however take direct action to stimulate new territories, albeit that we will handover operational responsibility to a local collection scheme as soon as possible.

    • Can anybody join The Cup Collective?

      The Cup Collective is open to any stakeholder within the paper cup supply chain. Please contact us if you are interested in participating.

    • How is The Cup Collective funded?

      Initial start-up funding has been provided by the Founding Partners; however, the longer-term objective is for The Cup Collection operations to be self-funding.

  • The Process
    • How are paper cups collected and recycled?

      Paper cup recycling can be carried out by a wide variety of organisations. Our aim is to develop a Europe wide network of companies who will offer cup collection as part of their services. The Cup Collective will work with those companies to share best practice to maximise sorting and collection, and ensure the cups find their way to an appropriate mill to realise the value of the high-quality fiber.

    • Is it also possible to recycle lids and/or straws?

      Our range of cup collection units have the ability to separately collect lids, liquids, and other related items such as straws and stirrers. This is primarily intended to ensure that paper cups are collected free from contamination and therefore please check with your Collection Scheme to establish whether these additional items can also be recycled as part of their service.

    • Who manages the cup collection unit?

      The cleaning and emptying of the cup collection unit is the responsibility of the site owner. Used paper cups collected in these units should subsequently be decanted into a sack to enable collection from site by your Collection Scheme on an agreed frequency.

    • What happens to the paper cups after collection?

      Collected paper cups are aggregated and subsequently baled to enable onward bulk transport as a segregated material stream for recycling. Paper cups are recycled at specific facilities into new paper and board products.

    • Are the collected paper cups recycled in Europe?

      Our immediate focus is to support and develop circular material flows in Europe. Therefore, our performance data only incorporates paper cups recycled at European facilities and evidenced by supporting waste transfer notes stipulating the provision of segregated post-consumer paper cups.