AVA meets with DEFRA to discuss cup recycling

A team from the AVA (David Llewellyn, Adrian Pratt and Mike Saltmarsh) had a very constructive meeting with representatives of the Producer Responsibility team at DEFRA on the 21st of February.  The team was able to give DEFRA an insight into the size of the vending market and its importance in providing refreshment within business, healthcare and leisure sites. They provided data from the AVA census, including the average price of a cup of coffee in B2B – 23p – which put the proposed latte levy in perspective.

They outlined the need for a range of cups in the industry and the specific needs for cups, both paper and plastic, in automatic and semiautomatic machines. On the subject of recovery and recycling of cups, the AVA team were able to pass on experience from the 25 years of Save-A-Cup and the current recycling schemes, emphasising that the vending cup generally does not leave the building in which it was purchased, allowing more opportunities for them to be collected clean. As the cup committee has visited several important players in the recovery and recycling of cups, they were able to clarify that all types of cups currently in use can be recovered and recycled.

The DEFRA team are particularly focused on producer responsibility and the packaging recovery note system, which is likely to be reformed.  The AVA made the point that there should be recognition of the vending operator within the scheme so that it was not just a case of paying to place on the market but also gaining credit for recycling. The team highlighted their working in partnership with the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Association, and the Foodservice Packaging Association.

Both sides agreed that the meeting had been useful and that contacts should continue to ensure that the views of this important industry sector should be taken into account. It appears likely that there will be little comment from Government until the publication of the Resource and Waste Strategy in the Autumn.