Cup recycling project achieves official recognition

Date 5.11.2021

A town-wide project led by the University has successfully ‘saved’ thousands of disposable cups from going to landfill and ensured they are properly recycled.

Up For the Cup is a collaboration of partners across the town* to increase cup recycling and awareness of how to do this properly, with each site hosting specially selected cup recycling bins.

The challenge when recycling paper cups is that they need to be captured separately from other waste as their plastic lining needs to be separated from the paper ‘outer’ of the cup first. It’s important to prevent the liquid and lids ‘contaminating’ the cups and preventing the recycling process.

As a result, the project has diverted over 60,000 paper cups from general waste, where they could have ended up in landfill, to be recycled and made into new products.

Up For the Cup has been so successful, it recently helped the University achieve official recognition of its environmental and sustainability ethos.

Investors in the Environment (iiE) is a national accreditation scheme, helping organisations reduce their impact on the environment and receive recognition for their green credentials. At their recent awards ceremony, the University won the Best Waste Reduction trophy.

This follows other commendations for sustainability at the University, including iiE’s decision to give the University Green Accreditation for efforts to improve the organisation’s environmental performance. In 2018, the University scooped a hat-trick of wins at the Investors in the Environment Awards.

Emma Stone, Environment Adviser at the University, said: “Up For the Cup was a challenging scheme from the beginning and throughout, with pandemic lockdowns threatening to scupper our ambitious recycling target.

“But the University and our partners have all pulled together to keep the project on course. Receiving this national award is wonderful recognition for this very important scheme and for the energies of all involved.”

*The University of Northampton was one of 12 towns/cities around the UK to successfully bid for the funding with a grant of £75,000 awarded to the Up For the Cup project from environmental company Hubbub’s The Cup Fund. The full list of partners is:

  • Delapré Abbey
  • The Students’ Union, Waterside Campus
  • Grosvenor Shopping, Northampton
  • Northampton General Hospital
  • Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton
  • Northampton Railway Station
  • The cups are recycled by Cawleys Waste Management