Square Mile coffee cup recycling challenge nothing but a stunt

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Square Mile ChallengeMajor coffee retailers and businesses in the London Square Mile have on April 3, 2017 joined forces to launch a scheme which aims to recycle half a million coffee cups in London this month, edie reports.

The problem is that it is greenwashing and edie is participating in this very act. The great majority of disposable coffee cups cannot be recycled – at least not as yet in the recycling facilities of today – due to the fact that they are a laminate or card and a liner, which in times gone by was a wax material but now is a plastic substance.

Square Mile Challenge bins in the shape of bright yellow coffee cups will be in place on the City's streets and while it makes for nice photo-ops it certainly does not much else.

The Square Mile Challenge will see more than 100 high street coffee retailers, such as Caffè Nero, Costa and Starbucks, offer recycling facilities and accept coffee cups in their stores, regardless of where they were purchased.

Meanwhile, the offices of 34 City-based companies, including the likes of Lloyd's and Deloitte, will be used to collect paper coffee cups, helping divert them in into a new waste stream.

Unless the organizers of this stunt, the environmental charity Hubbub, in collaboration with recycling company Simply Cups, know something that even the recycling facility operators don't know, then this is nothing but a stunt. The charity says that it is hope that through this “event” 5 million cups will be collected and recycled. Well, recycled where and how?

As I said, unless those people know something that even the experts and operators in the field of recycling know not, for they keep saying that, due to the composition of the material currently recycling is impossible and the only place where such cups go is the landfill, then this is a stunt at best and serious greenwash at worst.

London politicians are also in on this trying to bamboozle people. Only a few months back it was all over the news that it is basically impossible, at present, to recycle those takeout coffee cups and it was for that reason that a levy on them, a kind of tax, was to be introduced to encourage people to carry their own reusable cups. A message that is probably too hard to get across to the toffs in the City and hence we play at green.

© 2017