What do we do about coffee cups?

Cawleys is a waste management and resource recycling business.  Our motto is “local responsibility, global recycling” and last year we celebrated our 70th year in business.

We believe 100% in recycling and conserving the earth’s resources. We don't own a landfill site and are known for looking for technological or scientific solutions to the problem of waste.  As a third generation family business, thinking of the future and the legacy we leave for future generations is more than a 'tick box'  attitude, it really is in our DNA.


What do we do with coffee cups?

People think that coffee cups can't be recycled but that's not true.  We have a special recycling service which covers both coffee cups and used coffee grounds.

All the component parts in a single-use drinks cup, or any type of liquid carton container, can be recycled.  Until now though, many people just haven't bothered to recycle them, or are not sure exactly what happens to their used cups.

When you use our coffee recycling service, you can be confident your cups really are being recycled. We work with a company which  specialises in recycling beverage cups and cartons, using the latest technological processes. Cartons are pulped into a slurry, allowing the aluminium foil and polyethylene liners top be separated, and fibrous material to be collected.  From these materials new products such as aluminium foil or paperboard products are made.


The key to good recycling is segregation

The essential step you have to take is to ensure you segregate your cups and cartons from other waste streams.  This is why you need to work with a specialist waste collection company like us, because we will help you segregate your waste streams correctly. We will provide the right container in the right place, and then collect and consolidate the cups for you, so that the recycling system is efficient and cost effective.

Cawleys only work for businesses, we don’t do household collections, and we understand the importance of making waste collection as quick, easy and cost effective as possible.  We also know how important it is to have proper lines of reporting, so that you and your staff are confident that any waste from the business is being dealt with properly.

We provide monthly reports describing how much waste we have collected from you, and how we have re-processed it for you so that you have complete peace of mind.


Capturing the calorific value of the cup itself

Every item of waste has some energy within it, known as its calorific value.  We capture the value in coffee cups by creating second life uses for it.

Recycling and re-use is best

'Waste to energy’ is a last resource, because we believe it is better to save materials and re-use them whenever possible. For example, some metals are infinitely recyclable, so it would be shocking to burn say, a tin can for energy and never have that material available again. This approach has been visualised in the waste hierarchy you can see below.  Waste includes valuable resource such as coffee cups that should be recycled to create new products.

Cawleys pyramid









Waste as a valuable resource

The War On Waste programme where Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall highlighted the amount of quantity of coffee cups which go to waste, also focussed on the problems that Amazon customers have highlighted regarding excessive cardboard packaging.  Again, this is a waste stream that Cawleys segregates and sends to UK recycling mills for reprocessing into new products.  The role of the packaging is to prevent the product being damaged in transit.  This is itself an important part in minimising waste, so long as the packaging is then recycled.

Cardboard packaging

To prove just what good use can be made of waste resources such as cardboard packaging and coffee cups, Cawleys has recently invested in a ‘cardboard office’ for its Customer Service and Marketing team.

Cawleys cardboard office
















The whole office is made from recycled products including old fishing nets!  The innovative, award winning furniture you can see in this picture is made from waste cardboard. It can be made from any fibrous material, including coffee grounds.

Circular economy

By using products made from recycled materials, we are ensuring materials aren’t wasted.  Making and buying upcycled products made from recycled material is called the circular economy.

Circular economy















Each of us can play a part in this economy by recycling our products correctly, so that each waste stream is used in the best way available, and that includes our used coffee cups.  The first step is segregating and recycling your waste streams  correctly. A second step is using your buying power as a consumer by choosing products that include recycled content

“We are continuously searching for innovative and progressive methods to reach a truly circular economy, putting our customers firmly on the path towards zero landfill and sustainable waste management, which includes recycling coffee cups. ”

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