Biffa Recycling Scheme for Single Use Paper Cup - Biffa
Man places single-use takeaway cup in Biffa recycling bin

Biffa launches national recycling scheme for single-use paper cups

26 Jan 2024
3 mins
New scheme will help stop millions of hot and cold takeaway drinks cups going to waste
Circular Economy

Biffa has today launched a nationwide recycling service for hot and cold takeaway drinks cups.  

More than 62 million single-use tea, coffee and cold drinks cups are discarded in the UK every week. Although many contain cardboard that can be easily recycled into new products and packaging, millions still end up in general waste.  

From October 2025, all businesses with 10 or more full-time staff that sell takeaway drinks in fibre-based single-use cups will have to recycle them by law. 

Biffa, which already operates a successful disposable vape recycling service, is now offering UK mainland businesses - from cafes and restaurants to service stations and supermarkets – a fully integrated disposal, collection and recycling solution for their used cups. 

Biffa provides all the practical and technical help a business needs, from compliance advice to cup disposal points, bags and bins. The cups are then collected, bulked and baled by Biffa before being transported in its own fleet of vehicles to a UK paper mill to be transformed into new cardboard packaging. 

Alongside re-use and surplus redistribution, recycling generally produces fewer carbon emissions than disposal and using virgin material to make new goods from scratch. This not only helps in the fight against climate change but ensures the preservation of valuable natural resources. Biffa’s takeaway cup recycling scheme helps businesses operate more sustainably by entering the circular economy, and ensures they are fully compliant with next year’s legislation. 

Daniel Barrett, of Biffa’s Reactive Services, said: “Far too many recyclable takeaway cups end up in general waste, preventing perfectly good cardboard from being transformed back into new products.

"But despite the eagerness of many businesses to become more sustainable and compliant, the UK lacked sufficient options for the convenient and efficient nationwide recycling of these cups.  

“Now, alongside our disposable vape recycling service and our leading position on surplus redistribution, our takeaway cup scheme shows how we’re actively reducing waste by helping people and businesses re-use, recycle and redistribute as much of it as possible so we can all leave a smaller footprint.” 

Paul Sanderson, Chief Executive of The Recycling Association, said: “Many takeaway cups contain a high-quality cardboard that can be recycled into new cardboard or paper products. Collection schemes like this ensure that these cups can be kept from general waste so that they can be recycled at specialist mills.

"At The Recycling Association, we welcome anything that helps to increase recycling of products, while also ensuring we maintain high-quality recycling of easier-to-recycle packaging."

Find out more about Biffa's takeaway cup recycling scheme