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UK retailer M&S to roll out plastic-free recyclable cups across café network

The fully recyclable paper fibre cups have been introduced at 20 M&S Cafés, vending units and Foodhalls, and will become available across the retailer’s 300-plus foodservice locations in the ‘coming months’

M&S says it is the first major UK high street coffee retailer to offer 100% paper, fully recyclable cups and lids | Photo credit: Marks & Spencer

UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has begun introducing recyclable paper fibre coffee cups and lids across its UK café concession network.
The certified plastic-free disposable cups are currently available at twenty sites, including M&S Cafés, vended coffee points, and Foodhalls in London, Leeds and Cheshunt, and will be rolled out across its 300-strong café network ‘in the coming months.’
M&S says the cups deploy ‘innovative organic materials’ to replace the plastic lining found on conventional coffee cups, meaning the product can be disposed of in household recycling and will breakdown naturally with no plastic residue if disposed in landfill.
The UK-based retailer says the move makes it the first major UK high street coffee operator to offer 100% paper, fully recyclable cups and lids and will remove over 20 million units of plastic from its food business. M&S has a target of removing one billion units of plastic from the packaging of its food business and last year removed 75 million units.
The issue of disposable coffee cup waste has gained prominence in the UK, where around 2.5 billion are used every year and just one in 400 is recycled. 
“With one in every two of us visiting a coffee shop several times a week the long-lasting damage coffee cups can have on the planet without being properly recycled is huge. That’s why we were determined to bring a sustainable alternative to what’s out there today, and we’re proud to offer customers the first fully recyclable coffee cup on the high street,” said Alex Freudmann, Managing Director, M&S Food.
The introduction of home-recyclable cups demonstrates M&S’ ongoing investment in its café business amid a restructure of its high street estate.
In January 2023 M&S announced a £480m ($586m) revamp of its UK portfolio that would reduce its store count from 247 to 180 but see an expansion of its café and foodservice offer to deliver ‘higher quality, higher productivity’ locations. In the same month, M&S introduced ‘Magic Coffee’ – a beverage comprising ristretto and steamed milk and touted as the next flat white – to its cafés.
According to the retailer, which employs around 1,000 baristas, a growing number of M&S Cafés are offering ‘strongly performing’ takeaway options. Like many major UK coffee chains, M&S also offers a beverage discount for customers using their own re-usable cup in-store.

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