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At Greenworks Coffee, we've always prided ourselves on achieving our mission statement:
‘marketing and delivering great products to our customers with exceptional service’…
But in today's fast changing world, we have a greater responsibility to make sure we are working with our suppliers to help reduce—and where possible—eliminate non-environmentally sustainable products.

In a business where everything comes packaged to protect the product, this is not a straight forward task - but we have been busy making the inroads throughout 2019 and look to strengthen these in 2020 and beyond. We have introduced many new sustainable products from suppliers willing to work on this challenge with us. Similarly, we have discontinued many products that we believed to be the least sustainable. We do all this with our customers in mind, while making sure we maintain our original mission statement.

We thank our customers for their support with our goal to reduce our impact on the environment, and hope this page inspires you to make your own changes within your company.

Gareth Abbott
Managing Director, Greenworks Coffee Ltd

Simplifying Industry Terms

It's important to understand what is meant by recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable


Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects.

UK recycling policy focuses on:
- Plastic
- Paper
- Glass
- Tins / Cans

Contamination is a huge problem in recycling. Bottles and cans need to be empty of all liquids, and food containers rinsed clean.

PE or PLA lined paper cups need to be recycled in suitable sites. As of 2019 there are 17 separate UK sorting plants.


Plastic (anything made from):
- PP
- PS
- PC

- Uncoated paper
- Cardboard boxes
- Glass bottles
-Drinks Cans
- Food Tins


Capable of degradation through the action of living organisms.

There are many biodegradation sites in the UK that can accept all manner of products. Please see DEFRA for more information and check with your local site.

Biodegradable products all eventually biodegrade. However, it's important to realise this process could take years or even decades, depending on the product and where it ends up. This is where Compostable comes in…


- 100% paper products such as paper straws
- Wooden cutlery and other wooden products
- Pulp paper products
- PLA lined paper cups
- PLA clear cups


Capable of breaking down in under 12 weeks in commercial composting conditions, and is therefore suitable for industrial composting.

This is not a generic term, and must be proven by certification. Just because something is biodegradable does not make it compostable. There are several certification schemes, including “Seedling Certified” and “BPI Certified��.

Compostable packaging needs to be in compostable conditions in order to compost. Industrial composting creates the perfect balance of microbes, moisture and warmth to facilitate this.


- PLA lined paper cups
- PLA clear cups

Certification logos:

Reducing Single-use Plastics

One of the easiest changes you can make is switching from plastic cups to paper cups

The production, use and disposal of plastic emits enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses into the environment. Not only this, but when plastic ends up in landfill or the ocean—as it often does—it could take anywhere from 100, up to 1,000 years to decompose.

This is why we encourage our customers to make the switch from plastic cups to paper cups, containing little or no plastic.


Plastic cups

( when correctly recycled)

Plastic cup made entirely from PP plastic, which can be recycled

High plastic consumption


Paper cups: plastic lined

( when correctly recycled)

Paper cup with a thin lining of PE Plastic, which separates during recycling

97% reduction in plastic consumption
(compared to plastic cups)


Paper cups: PLA lined

( industrial composting)

Paper cup with a thin lining of PLA Bioplastic, which is 100% compostable (in industrial facilities)

Zero plastic consumption

Some things to consider…

It's currently still difficult to find waste carriers who can dispose of PLA in the UK — most export to the continent.

Some argue the production of PLA (which uses corn), would be put to better use for human consumption.

Ensure you have a Recovery Scheme in place — e.g. a suitable collection bin from a Waste Management provider (more info below).

Waste Collection & Recovery Schemes

To ensure waste is disposed of correctly, we recommend these Waste Management Companies

For typically hard-to-recycle items, you could try using a scheme like TerraCycle

You can even earn points which can be exchanged for donations to schools, charities or non-profit organisations of your choice