Convenience chain 7-Eleven has partnered with Aussie recycling group Closed Loop to tackle the number of takeaway coffee cups ending up in landfill each year.
The partnership with the group, which runs the Simply Cups program, will see special collection bins rolled out in 200 7-Eleven stores and 50 larger locations such as universities and construction sites from March next year.
The bins will accept all takeaway coffee and Slurpee cups, which due to their waterproof polyethylene lining are unable to be processed at regular paper recycling plants — a fact not widely known by consumers.
7-Eleven, the nation’s second largest coffee chain behind McDonald’s, hopes the initiative will save at least 70 million cups a year going to landfill.
“We’ve been looking for quite a while, very conscious of our growing volumes, but we haven’t been able to find the right solution which is not just practical but economic for the consumer,” 7-Eleven chief executive Angus McKay told news.com.au.
He added the cost of the new recycling initiative would not be passed onto customers.
“Our coffee today is very reasonably priced at $1, $2 or $3 and will remain that way,” he said. “There is an investment we’re having to make, we’re underwriting that.”
According to Simply Cups, all disposable cups currently go to landfill, equating to 10,000 tonnes of waste every year, consisting of 9400 tonnes of paper and 600 tonnes of polyethylene.
Coffee cups are estimated to be the second-largest contributor to litter waste after plastic bottles.
“Simply Cups now has access to technology that removes the plastic lining from paper-based cups so that both materials can then be processed in regular paper and plastic recycling facilities,” Simply Cups founder Rob Pascoe said in a statement.
“By collecting takeaway cups via a separate waste stream, Simply Cups can guarantee that cups collected through the dedicated 7-Eleven bins will be recycled."