Simply Cups reaches 10 million milestone

Simply Cups, a coffee cup recycling program, has officially collected 10 million cups, with Assistant Waste Reduction Minister Trevor Evans depositing the milestone cup at an event in Sydney.

According to Mr Evans, the recycling scheme, founded by Closed Loop, collects almost one million cups every month, with nearly 1000 collection points at 7-Eleven stores, cafes, hotels, hospitals and universities across Australia.

“Australians love their coffee, so it’s vital that they can easily and reliably recycle their disposable coffee cup and reduce the huge number of takeaway cups that currently end up in landfill each year,” Mr Evans said.

“Rather than just being put into the rubbish bin and ending in landfill, Simply Cups collect and then reprocess the used coffee cups, transforming them into new items like outdoor furniture, coffee cup trays and even traffic solutions like roadside kerbing.”

By disposing coffee cups at designated collection points, Mr Evans said consumers could do their part to increase recycling.

“This is a great practical example of Australia’s growing circular economy in action, and shows how we will all benefit from an invigorated waste and recycling industry,” he said.

Closed Loop Managing Director Rob Pascoe said Simply Cups aims to recycle 100 million cups every year.

“It’s a practical solution that increases recycling rates and reduces waste, while creating supply and demand for products made from recycled material,” he said.

“Our circular economy will grow quickly if people choose Australian-made and recycled over other alternatives. After all, recycling doesn’t actually happen when you put an item in a bin, it only happens when that item is given a second life.”

7-Eleven Chief Executive Officer Angus McKay said that while saving 10 million coffee cups from landfill is a fantastic achievement, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“We encourage customers to up the ante and deliver any brand of used coffee cup or straw to our cup collection points at store, and we’ll make sure they get recycled via Simply Cups,” he said.

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Simply Cups to expand NSW coffee cup recycling

A $115,000 funding boost from the NSW Government aims to lead to 11 million coffee cups being converted into bench seats, kerbing and car parking stoppers through an expanded Simply Cups recycling program.

Closed Loop Environmental Solutions piloted its Simply Cups program in the Australian market in 2016.

Since then, coffee giants 7-Eleven as well as commercial sites and caterers from Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong have partnered with the company to tackle the near one billion coffee cups consumed each year with a significant proportion of the largely unrecyclable materials going to landfill.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the “high visibility” coffee cup issue is something her government is working to resolve.

“The more coffee cups we recycle, the less that are littered – and that’s a good thing for everyone,” Ms Upton said.

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“The next time your car hits a bump stop in a car park, you may well be ‘using’ recycled coffee cups.

“Making useful products from waste or recyclable materials is one of the ways NSW is working to be ahead of the game in its response to China’s National Sword policy, which has effectively closed the Chinese market to Australia’s recyclable waste.”

While the Simply Cups program aims to divert 110 tonnes of coffee cups from landfill within a year, they are a small part of the Circulate grant program that has seen $407 million given to 1160 recycling projects from plastic milk bottles to mushroom biotechnologies.

“The Simply Cups program is one of several projects to benefit from the more than $510,000 awarded in this year’s Circulate grant program,” Ms Upton said.

Circulate grants are made through the $802 million Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

Simply Cups programs are also operating in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.