Zeus, the Irish-owned global packaging company, has today launched the first nationwide infrastructure to recycle every type of paper coffee cup in Ireland with the Coffee Cup Recycling Scheme.

The initiative is an exclusive partnership in Ireland with DS Smith, the leading sustainable packaging and recycling company. The AIL Group, the retail group behind Abrakebabra, the Bagel Factory and the O’Briens sandwich chain, has signed on as the first customer of the scheme. The coffee cup collection boxes will be rolled out to 80 O’Briens and Bagel Factory outlets nationwide from January 2020.

Speaking on today’s launch, owner of Zeus, Brian O’Sullivan said: “This is the solution to the problem of every coffee cup in Ireland – a complete, closed-loop system which has the capacity to recycle every type of paper coffee cup from every coffee shop, office or workplace.”

200 million single-use coffee cups are thrown away every year in Ireland*. The Coffee Cup Recycling Scheme provides the long sought-after national recycling infrastructure needed to ensure these cups do not end up in landfills. At a cost of 7c per cup, the scheme collects coffee cups nationwide from participants for recycling, using specially designed cardboard coffee cup collection boxes. The announcement comes as a solution for the Government, which recently announced plans for a coffee cup levy of up to 25c from 2021. The proposed levy has been criticised by some retailers and environmental groups as it doesn’t address the correct disposal of recyclable and compostable coffee cups.

Mr O’Sullivan added: “Great strides have been made recently in public awareness and increased use of recyclable and compostable coffee cups. However, as has been flagged by the Government, environmental groups, retailers and consumers, proper recycling infrastructure that ensures these cups don’t end up in landfills is not in place. Proposals such as the recently announced government plans for a ‘Latte Levy’ also don’t resolve this issue.

“Through the Coffee Cup Recycling Scheme, we are providing that infrastructure, allowing every coffee cup in Ireland to be recycled correctly. We are calling on all businesses and customers nationwide to embrace this system, so we can work together to divert as many coffee cups as possible from going to landfill.”

In an exclusive agreement with DS Smith, Zeus is providing this recycling solution to the Irish coffee industry, and to businesses of all types and sizes across Ireland. DS Smith pioneered coffee cup recycling at traditional recycled paper mills, allowing for the recycling of both PE-lined traditional paper hot cups and PLA-lined compostable cups into new paper packaging products. Used coffee cups collected by Zeus will then be sent to DS Smith for recycling.

Tom Campbell-White, DS Smith Recycling’s European Strategic Development Director, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Zeus to roll out the Coffee Cup Recycling Scheme to the Irish market. We broke new ground last year when we redefined coffee cup recycling and announced capacity to recycle 2.5 billion coffee cups at our mill in Kent. Building on this, we launched our coffee cup recycling boxes in the UK in September, and we are seeing a great response from coffee retailers and other businesses. We are really excited to work with Zeus on providing a recycling solution for Ireland’s coffee lovers.”

Graeme Beere, owner of the AIL Group, said: “At AIL Group, we are committed to finding new sustainable solutions for our customers and will be rolling the Coffee Cup Recycling Scheme to 80 O’Briens and Bagel Factory outlets nationwide. We encourage all our customers to use these boxes to dispose of their coffee cups so that they can be correctly recycled instead of going to landfill.”

As part of the partnership, Zeus will use DS Smith’s uniquely designed coffee cup recycling boxes, which make it easier for consumers and businesses to recycle used coffee cups. Made from recycled paper packaging, the boxes can hold up to 700 used coffee cups. Once full, the boxes will be then be collected from businesses. To reduce the carbon footprint, Zeus will compact the boxes and store until there is a full shipment load, before being shipped to DS Smith’s recycled paper mill in Kent, UK, for recycling. Zeus will also be launching a dedicated website where customers can order the boxes.

 *Study by Recycling List Ireland, 2018

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