Square Mile Challenge set for keen beans to clean up City

City's Coffee cups
Green street: five million cups is the target

Firms, coffee chains and caffeine addicts across the City have joined forces to boost disposable coffee cup recycling in an attempt to prevent five million cups a year from the Square Mile ending up in landfill.

The Square Mile Challenge calls upon coffee drinkers to dispose of their paper cups in brand new recycling facilities installed at more than 100 high street coffee retailers such as Starbucks and Costa, as well as the offices of 34 City firms, including the Cheesegrater and the Barbican Centre, throughout April.

There are unmissable Square Mile Challenge bins in the shape of bright yellow coffee cups in place on the City’s streets, and cups will be collected at both Liverpool Street and Cannon Street stations during rush hour every weekday throughout the month.

Environmental charity Hubbub and recycling company Simply Cups joined the City of London Corporation and Network Rail in launching the campaign on 1 April with a City skyline constructed of coffee cups at Bank Junction.

The aim is to collect and recycle half a million cups by the end of the month, and a total of five million by the end of the year as part of the UK’s biggest push to tackle the issue. Coffee cup recycling has always been problematic due to the plastic film on the inside of the paper cup and plastic lids.

The recycling methods used for the Square Mile Challenge will process the cups to create either a plastic or recovered fibre material which is made into new products, some of which will be donated to a new outdoor community space and cafe opening in the City next year.

Gavin Ellis, co-founder of Hubbub, said: “It would be easy to suggest that everyone should use reusable cups for our hot drinks, but the reality is that disposable cups are being used in their millions and so we have to deliver a solution.

“We are delighted that so many organisations, including the local authority, Network Rail and businesses that are usually in competition with each other are collaborating to tackle this issue.”

Steve Presland, the Corporation’s highways and cleansing director, said: “We spend £3.8million a year cleaning the City’s streets and more than 400,000 people commute and into the City of London every day.

“We urge the people who live, work or visit the Square Mile to be conscious of where they throw away their coffee cups, and keep an eye out for the recycling points across the City.”