FPA concern over delay to mandatory paper cup takeback scheme
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FPA concern over delay to mandatory paper cup takeback scheme

Aug 18, 2023

The Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) has expressed its concern that the government’s mandatory paper cup takeback scheme will be delayed by a year.

It follows Defra’s move to delay the launch of Extended Producer Responsibility by 12 months, to October 2025.

Martin Kersh, the FPA’s executive director, said that there was momentum behind the scheme and the association wasn’t consulted on the delay.

The takeback of paper cups by retailers was scheduled to be put in place in 2024. Under the scheme, businesses with more than 10 full-time or equivalent employees will be mandated to takeback paper cups. This applies to all drinks supplied in paper cups, either for ‘on-the-go’ or ‘sit-in’ consumption. Retailers will be required to provide for the separate collection of both their own and their competitors’ used cups via instore and front-of-shop collection points – also taking on responsibility for arranging the paper cup collection and recycling.

Kersh said: “Businesses from all sectors of paper cup use are keen to make the takeback scheme work. Why dampen this enthusiasm, especially given the large increase in targets for recycling fibre-based packaging?

“The FPA hasn’t been consulted on any delay to the launch of the takeback scheme. If government had asked us our response would have been: ‘Please don’t put the start date back. The voluntary scheme is continuing to grow, so let’s get on with increasing the number of paper cups being recycled. Businesses don’t want a delay and our members are keen to meet Defra’s targets’.

“Our members and their customers are really trying to increase the recycling of paper cups and it’s concerning that this latest delay announcement will inevitably put a brake on this”.

Reacting to the news, Rob Tilsley, fibre operations group leader at James Cropper said: “We have increased our capacity by 40% at our CupCycling plant – allowing us to recycle up to 700 million cups per annum – and have expanded the areas from which we will be collecting cups.

“Organisations from across the cup recycling ecosystem have invested heavily in supporting the mandatory takeback scheme, seeing this fantastic opportunity delayed is an unnecessary set back”.

Hannah Osman, national cup recycling scheme manager at Valpak added: “We have been teaming up with the key stakeholders in cup recycling for some time and seen significant investment in infrastructure as well as a high level of collaboration. Having experienced such progress, it is vital at this stage that the industry is provided with certainty on the timings for implementing mandatory cup takeback.”

Philip Chadwick