Squaring the circle on coffee cup recycling

Did you know that the UK gets through a staggering 7 million disposable paper cups a day – that’s 2.5 billion cups every year – yet less than 1% of these are currently recycled?

We’ve been helping sustainability charity Hubbub launch their #SquareMileChallenge initiative to tackle the issue in London’s Square Mile. This pioneering collaboration with Simply Cups brings together the City of London Corporation, Network Rail, coffee cup manufacturers and major coffee retailers – Caffè Nero, Costa, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Pret A Manger and Starbucks. Over 250 new recycling points are now in place across the City – on the streets, in stations, in coffee shops and in offices.

We developed a two phase media strategy aligned with the strategic objectives of the campaign. The first phase in January 2017 raised awareness of the initiative and targeted businesses around the City to sign up to workplace coffee cup collections. The story was covered in The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Mail, along with extensive reach in London and specialist media and wide sharing on social media – leading to a further 34 major businesses signing up to take part in the challenge.

The second phase launched on 3rd April 2017 with the goals of engaging consumers in the City of London to recycle their cups, along with continued awareness raising on a national level to pave the way for a wider roll out of the scheme.

In the run up to the launch we worked with Hubbub on creative ideas to engage City workers and residents.  Check out Hubbub’s behind the scenes vlog, for more on this…


These were also used as a backdrop for our media activities and helped achieve fantastic coverage, including interviews on BBC Breakfast and articles in The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and The Sun. We were also delighted the story was picked up in virtually every London media outlet from BBC London TV news and radio to the Evening Standard, Metro, City AM and Timeout. Social media sharing was extensive, supported by engaging video content, with #SquareMileChallenge trending in London on the day of the launch.

We look forward to sharing more good news when the cups are counted.