Millions of used coffee cups dumped across Britain each day could be heading to Sheffield after the launch of a pioneering recycling scheme.
Millions of disposable coffee cups discarded by caffeine thirsty Brits each day will now be recycled rather than sent to landfill sites or incinerators under a new service.
About 7 million paper cups are used in Britain each day - but most cannot be recycled as they have a plastic coating inside.
Employers will be encouraged to install dedicated bins in workplaces so that cups can be sent to specialist centres - including the premises of waste management firm Veolia in Sheffield.
Normal waste paper recycling plants cannot separate the cup from lining - which means up to 2.5 billion cups a year are dumped in landfill or burned.
Veolia is also launching a post-back scheme under which any organisation can buy a postage-paid box for £9.50, with space for up to 1,000 cups. Businesses will be able to rent coffee cup bins where employees can dump their cups for recycling.
The cups will be sent to specialist recycling centres in Cumbria as well as Sheffield or to one being built in Leeds.
Veolia’s technical director, Richard Kirkman said: ‘The common problem we have with recycling is how many people are willing to do it. But if we have a lot of bins and people see others using them, they will be encouraged to do it. Recycling needs to be easier than doing anything else (with your waste)."
A statement issued by the firm said: "With 84% of takeaway hot drink consumers still using disposable cups, Veolia’s coffee cup solution aims to collect takeaway cups as soon as the consumer has finished their drink to reduce cup contamination and increase recycling rates.
"By capturing cups before they enter the general waste stream Veolia’s solution aims to get a higher quality of material that can be reprocessed into a new product."
Recycled cups will be turned into products such as home insulation, hospital trays, egg boxes and cup holders given back out in coffee shops.