Wybone joins the cuprising with Simply Cups partnership

February 25, 2019

You might have heard us mentioning cup recycling and Simply Cups in particular, over the last few years.

The debate around disposable coffee cups has become a household recycling name since chef and environmentalist Hugh Fernley Wittingstall revealed that only 1 in 400 disposable cups are recycled in the UK.

With this important shift in recycling focus, we joined forces with Simply Cups back in 2017 to encourage cup recycling across the UK with our range of innovative recycling bins.

Established in 2014, Simply Cups is a partnership between Closed Loop Environmental Solutions and Simply Waste Solutions offering a recycling solution to the ‘unrecyclable’ coffee cup along with all types of paper and plastic disposable cups. Simply Cups are the first and leading cup recycling organisation that help to provide cup recycling solutions.

More than 5,000 coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each minute but less than 1% of these are recycled. Coffee cups are difficult to recycle because they’re sealed with a plastic lining on the inside, which can’t be recycled with ordinary paper waste by local authorities.

Maddie Hickman, the Scheme Manager for Simply Cups told us about their objective: “The Simply Cups scheme has always aimed to increase the number of paper and plastic cups recycled and diverted from landfill and incineration in the UK. To do this we require as many end user companies as possible to join the scheme.”

Maddie explained the initial drawbacks of disposable cup recycling, “one of the major issues that was faced was that suitable bins were not available. The majority of plastic and paper cup recycling bins had been designed to blend in with existing recycling stations within offices, however the public sites required something bolder and more engaging.

“Wybone’s Sales Manager Mark Hollinsworth, contacted us at Closed Loop to tell us about an exciting new range of cup recycling bins designed in the shape of coffee cups. When we were first contacted by Wybone, we had no problems in signing up offices and closed environments to the scheme however we came across a few barriers in getting universities, shopping centres, cafes and other sites open to the public to join.”

The Wybone Eco and Deluxe cup shaped units helped us to overcome this barrier and provide a more suitable offering to shopping centres, universities, sports venues and cafes.”

A few companies joined the scheme following the release of the bins including the Palace Gardens Shopping Centre and the University of Hertfordshire. The bins were also used for a collaborative project in Gosport and placed into locations including the library, leisure centre and the ferry terminal.

We attended the Simply Cups Annual Conference for the first time in November 2017 at the Eden Project in Cornwall and showcased our Eco and Deluxe Recycling Unit, as well as featuring in their brochure. Both bins are shaped like takeaway cups, manufactured from galvanised steel with rolled circular bodies and vacuum formed durable plastic lids.

The Deluxe Cup Recycling Unit has six internal tubes that stack the cups and lids, with a separate collection tube for liquid waste; this efficient way of collecting cups reduces their volume by up to 75%. When the lid is lifted, the tubes open at the bottom allowing the cups to fall directly into the waste bag.

The Eco Cup Recycling Unit has only three apertures for cups, lids and liquid waste, with a front facing sloped display board with cup recycling vinyl artwork. These three individual sections create segregated waste streams.

Maddie told us how the Wybone cup recycling bins are ideal for their purpose, “Since I began my role as the Simply Cups Manager at Closed Loop, I always believed a cup recycling bin shaped as a coffee cup would be successful at getting consumers to recycle their cups and deter them from putting other materials into the bin and have actively encouraged our bin suppliers to follow this path.

Recycling bin signage can often be confusing for consumers with mixed messaging but by installing recycling units in the same shape as the material we are looking to capture – the message could not be more straightforward. The Wybone units are also hard-wearing as they are made from galvanised steel, making them the ideal for public locations such as shopping centres.”

Since the introduction of our two cup recycling units, the range has gone from strength to strength with customers requesting bespoke full wrap artwork around the body of the bin. As well as introducing two more products to the range to increase cup recycling further and make it easier for all organisations to join the cuprising whatever their budget.

We’ve worked with a number of customers through the Simply Cups scheme over the past year, most recently with Gunwharf Quays Shopping Centre in Portsmouth, who have ordered ten of our Deluxe Cup Recycling Units.

These units have been designed with full wrap artwork in partnership with Simply Cups and Huhtamaki, offering recycling points around the shopping centre for customers.

We’re also working with SWR Newstar and Costa Coffee who have supplied five Deluxe Cup Recycling Units to Edinburgh Airport. These units also feature brightly coloured full wrap artwork around the bin, encouraging customers to recycle their coffee cups instead of sending them to the incinerator.

We’ve recently introduced a Box Cycle version to our cup recycling range, designed like our Food Donation Bin, with a transparent polycarbonate body and plastic liquid collection tube. The volume split of this unit features one side slightly larger than the other, due to the space required for cups and lids.

We’ve also released the Cup Recycling Unit for Secure Environments, manufactured in the same way as our cup recycling suite of products but designed with perforations to make the internal contents visible. This offers a number of benefits, including making the waste stream visible therefore encouraging the correct use, highlighting any miscellaneous objects that could pose a security risk and giving a visual cue as to when the bin needs to be emptied.

Although this unit offers an aspect of security and is ideal for airports and shopping centres, we think that the stylish and quirky perforated design would look great in offices and universities.

Our work with Simply Cups has only just begun and we can’t wait to see what the next few years brings for disposable cup recycling!

If you would like to speak to a member of our sales team about starting a cup recycling scheme with the help of Wybone and Simply Cups, feel free to give us a call on 01226 352333 or send us an email to