Plastic-free takeaway coffee cups are being launched by Marks & Spencer in a high street first.
Every one of the 2.5billion throwaway cups used by most coffee shop chains in the UK has a plastic coating which means they cannot be easily recycled with other paper waste.
By contrast, the M&S cup and lid, which will be offered through its cafes, are made entirely from paper fibre so are fully recyclable.
The change will remove over 20million units of plastic lined cups from Britain’s streets.
In 2016, the Mail’s ‘Curb the cups’ campaign highlighted how just one in 400 of the throwaway cups – including the plastic coating – were collected and sent for specialist recycling.
Subsequently, chains such as Costa, Starbucks and Pret a Manger installed new recycling bins in stores and boosted discounts to customers who brought in their own reusable cups.
M&S currently offers a 50p discount on all hot drinks in its cafes for customers who bring their own reusable cup, which is the most sustainable option.
Plastic-free takeaway coffee cups are being launched by Marks & Spencer in a high street first
The M&S cup and lid, which will be offered through its cafes, are made entirely from paper fibre so are fully recyclable
The new M&S cups have an organic lining that offers the same protection against the liquid as plastic, yet they can be recycled as if it was paper. This means there is no need to set up a specialist collection and recycling system for them.
The technology, if used more widely, could prevent billions of cups going to landfill or incineration and around the world.
The material has a plastic free accreditation and ensures even if the cup ends up in landfill it will break down and leave no harmful plastics behind.
M&S has a target of removing one billion units of plastic from the packaging of its food business where the majority is used and last year removed 75million units. It recently introduced reusable paper bags at tills across all stores.
Managing director at M&S Food, Alex Freudmann, said: ‘Our customers look to us to lead on the environment, and we are constantly aiming to raise the bar and lower our impact on the planet.
‘With one in every two of us visiting a coffee shop several times a week the long-lasting damage coffee cups can have on the planet without being properly recycled is huge.
‘That’s why we were determined to bring a sustainable alternative to what’s out there today, and we’re proud to offer customers the first fully recyclable coffee cup on the high street.’