Launch of 100% plastic-free recyclable coffee cup is a UK-first from coffee company rijo42

Launch of 100% plastic-free recyclable coffee cup is a UK-first from coffee company rijo42

A Manchester-based commercial coffee machine retailer is the first UK coffee brand to develop and launch a disposable coffee cup which can be recycled in conventional mixed-paper recycling bins, as well as composted alongside food waste.

The company, rijo42, are aiming to lead the way in making the £10.1 billion UK coffee shop sector more sustainable.

In the UK alone, we now drink over 95 million cups of coffee a day[1]. As a result, we’re throwing away a staggering 2.5 billion coffee cups[2] each year, with fewer than 1 in every 400 being recycled. That’s hundreds of thousands of coffee cups ending up in landfill each year, contributing to the millions of tonnes of waste we produce as a country.

The problem up until now has been that coffee cups have had to have a plastic liner to stop them disintegrating when hot liquid is added. This means that they can only be processed by a few specialist plants and suitable recycling points are limited, so that most plastic-lined cartons and cups are thrown away in regular bins and make their way to landfill sites.

The new eco-cups look and perform exactly like their traditional plastic-lined rivals but use a water-based barrier coating solution instead. That means they can be recycled in conventional and widely-available mixed-paper recycling bins, just like a newspaper, instead of requiring specialist recycling facilities.

A growing number of retailers and offices in the UK have switched to compostable cups in an attempt to tackle the problem, but this isn’t an ideal solution. These cups still have to be disposed of in dedicated food waste bins which aren’t always readily available.

Trewin Restorick, founder and CEO of environmental charity Hubbub UK, says: “Compostable sounds better, but it can actually make things worse if the cups are put in the wrong bin.”

Compostable cups that end up in non-food waste recycling bins can break down, contaminating the rest of the recyclable waste and causing the whole batch to be rejected and sent to landfill. With growing concerns over the viability of landfill[3] in the long term, this is a nationwide eco-concern.

rijo42 decided to go down a different path, developing and producing plastic-free cups that are completely recyclable. They’re also compostable as per EU Standard EN13432[4]. They will be available to all rijo42 customers, making it easier than ever for thousands of offices, cafes, restaurants, and bars across the UK to minimise the waste that’s caused by hard-to-recycle single-use coffee cups containing plastic.

The cups are manufactured in the UK, cutting down on emissions caused by freight, and the material used in their construction is sourced from sustainably managed forestry with FSC or PEFC accreditations. This gives it an incredibly small eco-footprint.

Sean Griffin, director at rijo42, says:

“We’re absolutely delighted to launch our eco-friendly, 100% plastic-free coffee cups to our customers and take another step on our no plastic journey[5]. This is exactly what’s needed to push back on the unsustainability of other single-use cup designs, and we’re proud to be leading the way in the UK in this area.”

rijo42 are working towards being as environmentally friendly as possible, pursuing a plastic-free manufacturing process, energy-efficient coffee machine designs, and triple-certified ethical coffee[7].