Bristol Airport recycles 1 tonne of paper cups 2 months after launching new scheme

Nearly a tonne of paper cups has been recycled at Bristol Airport as a result of a new process introduced in partnership with SWRnewstar in March. There are approximately 54,500 coffee cups in a tonne and if those cups were placed end to end they would reach three times the length of Bristol Airport’s runway!


The process has been designed to be as easy as possible for passengers: paper cups are segregated at source and separate collections have been set up. The team on site managing the waste yard closely monitor the cups coming from the terminal to ensure high quality material is going on to be reprocessed. The cups are then recycled at a specialist facility and the paper is manufactured into new products.


Dan Brown, Corporate Sector Director for Automotive & Logistics, SWRnewstar said:

“Great credit has to go to Bristol Airport, their business partners and passengers for such excellent results so early on in this scheme. It shows that recycling is taken seriously at the airport and that when all stakeholders are engaged in a process it can produce really positive results. Already collections are increasing from the initial stages so I can only see higher levels of recycling and segregation moving forward.”


James Shearman, Head of Sustainability, Bristol Airport said:

“We are delighted with the successful results achieved so early in the scheme. We wanted a system that would be easy for staff and passengers, and it could not be simpler. We are working with the various business partners on site to continue our efforts in maintaining our reuse, reduce, recycle principals.”


Bristol Airport and SWRnewstar have worked together since 2016 with significant progress being made to increase recycling and manage waste effectively. In 2018 the airport remained a zero-landfill airport recycling and improvements on site continue.


Bristol Airport employees already have their own reusable ‘keep cups’ and refill water bottles for use in staff catering areas, to reduce disposables. There are also three refill stations in the terminal for passengers which reduces the number of plastic bottles.  This initiative is supported by all catering outlets in the terminal providing ‘fill up for free’ water top-ups.

Waste management is one part of Bristol Airport’s wider commitment to reduce carbon emissions. There is an ambitious objective for the site to be carbon neutral by 2030. A range of actions are taking place to reduce the carbon intensity of the airport by reducing per passenger carbon emissions, with particular focus on energy usage.

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54,500 coffee cups have been collected in the first two months; placed end to end they would reach three times the length of Bristol Airport’s runway!
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