Alok Sharma MP with Huhtamaki’s Sustainability Manager Richard Ali and Cllr Sandra Vickers at the recycling bring bank in Tilehurst

Alok Sharma, Member of Parliament for Reading West, was invited to visit a recycling collection point in his constituency as part of a nationwide recycling initiative between a leading group of fourteen companies and the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK).

The initiative, which was launched in January 2018, is being newly promoted in Reading where five paper cup Bring Banks have been opened. The initiative means that paper cups are being accepted in all of the existing collection points which until now have only taken beverage cartons. ACE UK have a record in recycling, with over 92% of local authorities already accepting beverage cartons for recycling. ACE UK’s further work will include developing kerbside collections and extending commercial collection services as part of the industry’s efforts to accelerate UK recycling of paper cups.

Alok and local Tilehurst Councillor Sandra Vickers met with Richard Ali, Sustainability Manager for Huhtamaki, at the site of the recycling collection point in Recreation Road Car Park. Huhtamaki is one of the scheme’s funders and signatories. Other companies that are part of the agreement include Costa Coffee, Greggs, McDonald’s UK, Pret A Manger, Starbucks and Nestlé. All fourteen signatories are part of the Paper Cup Alliance which works to communicate the industry’s efforts and progress on paper cup recycling.

The Government has redoubled its own efforts on recycling and tackling plastic waste.

The Government is committed to working to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, with the new 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment setting out a four-point plan for action at each stage of the product lifecycle: production, consumption and end of life. The Government will ensure that producer responsibility systems, including packaging waste regulations will be reformed, which will include exploring extending these requirements to more products. Building on the microbeads ban, Ministers will look into whether other problematic products should be banned where there are suitable alternatives.

All consumer single use plastics will be removed from central government estate offices, and uptake of the highly successful 5p plastic bag charge extended to small retailers. Businesses will be encouraged to offer new, free refill points for water bottles to be topped up, and work with retailers will explore introducing plastic-free supermarket aisles, where all the food is loose. 
Later this year, the Government will launch consultations on banning the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds, with exemptions for straws used for medical reasons, and on a plan currently under development for a deposit return scheme for single use drinks containers.

Alok Sharma said: “I am delighted at the very robust action the Government is taking to promote recycling and tackle plastic waste. Schemes like the one being promoted by ACE UK will help overall to make a positive difference in terms of recycling rates.”

Cllr Sandra Vickers said: “It was interesting to learn about ACE UK’s initiative to recycle paper cups and I am pleased that one of the new recycling banks is in Tilehurst. I think this is a positive approach and I hope it will encourage local residents to recycle as much as they possibly can.”

Richard Ali, Sustainability Manager for Huhtamaki, said: “We are proud to support this paper cup recycling scheme which gives local residents the opportunity to recycle their used paper cups alongside food and drink cartons at Bring Banks in Reading. Paper coffee cups are fully recyclable and being recycled in the UK today, so we would encourage residents to take full advantage of this new service.”

Photo:  Alok Sharma MP with Huhtamaki’s Sustainability Manager Richard Ali and Cllr Sandra Vickers at the recycling bring bank in Tilehurst

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