New disposable cup recycling bins

Disposable cup bin located in hallway

You may have spotted some new disposable cup recycling bins on campus this autumn.

These new bins are from Forge Recycling and are designed to make it as easy as possible to recycle single-use disposable cups used for hot drinks with separate sections for the lids, the cup and any left over fluid.

As it is widely known, single-use cups are very difficult to recycle. This is due to their inner plastic lining, which is bonded to the paper outer, making it hard to separate the two materials. At the University this has previously resulted in disposable cups going into our general waste bins and then being sent for energy recovery through incineration rather than recycling. Although this route provides energy it means that the materials are not reused and additional raw materials are then needed to make new cups.

Working with local waste company, Forge Recycling, the new recycling bins mean that the  single-use cups will be sent to one of the few sites in the UK that are able to  recycle the cups. The cups are broken down and the bonded plastic insert is removed from the paper outer.  The segregated plastic is then sent for recycling while the broken down paper can be made into new paper products. This short video explains the process:

The new bins have initially been installed at selected Great Food at Leeds cafes across campus. We will also be rolling out additional bins at key locations across campus in the next few weeks.

At the University we strive to reuse as much as possible rather than recycling and are pleased that reusable cups are now being accepted in all GFAL outlets once again. The process is slightly different to ensure the safety of our staff and students, please follow the instructions of our staff closely to ensure that the touch points are reduced.

Great Food at Leeds has successfully ran a reusable cup campaign for a number of years no; providing the sale of Keep Cups at cost price as well as providing a 20p discount for any customers purchasing a hot drink with their reusable cup.

To find out more about how we recycle at the University please visit our recycling webpage.