Selfridges′ Inspiring Plan For Coffee Cups

Following a very socially responsible trend that seems to be prominent on the minds of decision makers in the retail industry, Selfridges is set to recycle disposable coffee cups, generated at its Oxford Street flagship, to create its iconic branded yellow bags.

The initiative follows astounding research showing paper coffee cups, that are used 2.5 billion times a year in the UK, could not be recycled. It’s largely understood that coffee cups are indeed one of the most difficult waste products to recycle due to their thin plastic coating. However, James Cropper, partner and paper manufacturer opened by HM the Queen in 2013, has developed a technology that removes the plastic and allows for the remaining paper to be recycled. Steve Adams, Managing Director of James Cropper commented on the company’s innovative technology by saying: “The fibre used to create paper cups is very high quality as only ‘virgin’ pulp is used to satisfy food contact requirements. Seeing this go to waste on such a huge scale is what inspired us to develop the technology to separate the two components”.

Cups generated at the departments store’s Food Hall and HQ will be ‘tipped, flipped and staked’, in order to ensure any remaining liquid is drained. The lid, sleeve and cup will then be separated, checked for quality and baled by environmental solution provider and partner, Veolia, before being delivered to James Cropper’s innovative CupCycling plant in Cumbria. The cups will then be upcycled into paper and converted into the brands yellow shopping bag. The final product will contain 20% of cup fibre, equating to one 8oz ‘cup’, and will display the CupCyling logo to spread awareness.

The bags will be qualified to recycle after use in the standard paper waste stream. Chris Brant, director of retail projects and FM at Selfridges, said: “As part of our ‘Buying Better, Inspiring Change’ approach, we are constantly looking for new ways to make our business more efficient... With our partners James Cropper and Veolia, we can take coffee cups, a waste product of ours, and transform them into our yellow kraft bags, thereby closing the loop on that particular waste stream. Not only that, but the bags can still be recycled for years to come...We’re proud to be the first retailer to upcycle our cups in this way. Our customers are becoming ever more aware of global waste issues and I think they will appreciate the story behind the bag.”

Sustainability has been a major priority for Selfridges plans with their ‘Buying Better, Inspiring Change’ campaign launched last year. By 2021, the retailer plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 15 percent whilst enforcing its top 30 brands to develop clear sustainability agendas. Over to you, Starbucks...