M&S launches ‘first’ plastic-free and recyclable coffee cup

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    M&S launches ‘first’ plastic-free and recyclable coffee cup

    M&S Food has today launched a 100 per cent paper and plastic-free paper fibre coffee cup and lid combo across 20 of its M&S Cafés and Foodhalls in what it claims is a first for Britain’s high street.

    The company said the would see 20 million units of plastic packaging removed each year from its M&S’ Food business, building on the 75 million reduction in pieces of plastic packaging achieved in 2022.

    Regular takeaway coffee cups cannot be easily recycled due to a thin layer of plastic coating on the inside that stops contents from seeping into the paper. As such, existing products require specific takeback schemes and recycling processes operated by a small number of recyclers.

    However, M&S said its new cups and lids are made from organic materials which can be recycled like any other paper product and feature a lining material which replicates the same barrier effect of plastic without the long lasting environmental impact.

    Following tests earlier this year, the new cups are now set to be initially rolled out at sites in London’s Stratford City, Leeds White Rose, and Cheshunt, with M&S planning to then extend the cups to its estate of 300 Cafés in the coming months.

    The retailer will also continue to offer a 50p discount on all hot drinks served to Café customers who bring their own reusable cup.

    “With one in every two of us visiting a coffee shop several times a week the long-lasting damage coffee cups can have on the planet without being properly recycled is huge,” said Alex Freudmann, managing director at M&S Food. “That’s why we were determined to bring a sustainable alternative to what’s out there today, and we’re proud to offer customers the first fully recyclable coffee cup on the high street.

    “For me our coffee now ticks three big boxes – it’s delicious, it supports our growers and suppliers with every purchase, and now it comes in easy to recycle cups too.”

    The move follows M&S’ introduction of reusable paper bags at tills across each of its stores and contributes towards the retailer’s target of removing one billion units of plastic from its food business’ packaging.

    The retailer’s announcement comes just weeks after new bans and restrictions on a range of polluting single-use plastic items came into force on 1 October in a bid to cut littering, drive the reuse of materials, and contribute to worldwide efforts to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

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