Selfridges’ shopping bags to be made from recycled coffee cups
Department store chain Selfridges is to upcycle disposable coffee cups generated at its Oxford Street headquarters and store and use the paper to create its iconic yellow shopping bags.
Once used, disposable cups from the food hall and offices at the department store will be ‘tipped, flipped and stacked’ – a process used to ensure any remaining liquid is drained and that the lid, sleeve and cup are separated. They will then be further processed, checked for quality and baled by environmental solutions provider Veolia before being delivered to paper manufacturer James Cropper for reprocessing at its CupCycling plant.
The paper from the cups will then be converted into the yellow shopping bags. The final product will contain 20% cup fibre, meaning one large bag will contain the equivalent of one 8oz cup. The bags will display the CupCycling logo to verify that the fibre has been processed through James Cropper’s facility, and after use will be able to be recycled in the standard paper waste stream.
It is estimated that 2.5 billion paper cups are used in the UK each year. Until recently, these were unable to be recycled due to their polyethylene lining; however, James Cropper’s facility, which was opened by HM the Queen in 2013, has the technology to separate the two components. The paper fibre is rescued and turned into luxury papers and the polyethylene is recycled into products such as plastic tubing and cable wraps.
Chris Brant, director of retail projects and FM at Selfridges, said: “As part of our ‘Buying Better, Inspiring Change’ approach, we are constantly looking for new ways to make our business more efficient.
“We’re proud to be the first retailer to upcycle our cups in this way. Our customers are becoming ever more aware of global waste issues and I think they will appreciate the story behind the bag.”