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Network Rail to ban supply of plastic cutlery and cups in its stations by 2021

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Network Rail has announced plans to ban retailers from supplying plastic cutlery and cups in its managed stations by the end of 2020.

Recycling schemes for coffee cups and coffee ground will also be introduced in all of these stations before 2021.

The move comes as the organisation looks to reduce the amount of waste that it sends to landfills.

Network Rail is one of the UK’s largest retail landlords and says that already 94 per cent of its waste is diverted from such sites.

Network Rail has already written to the 150 retail brands based in its 20 managed stations, outlining plans to work with them to phase out single-use plastic cutlery and cups.

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It has also begun a back of house trial of coffee cup recycling at Victoria and Paddington stations.  The trial sees cups collected from station retailers and placed into special bins in staff-only areas before being taken offsite to be reprocessed into new materials for benches, decking and even reusable cups.

More than 20 million cups of coffee are sold to people who use Network Rail managed stations each year and the work to introduce coffee cup recycling complements the successful coffee grounds recycling programme.

The partnership has seen coffee grounds from more than nine million cups of coffee recycled into a clean fuel for the home since July 2017. Network Rail wants to expand this to all its managed stations by the end of 2020.

Network Rail property managing director David Biggs said: “In February, we began work to introduce free water fountains in our managed stations to reduce the impact of single-use plastics. Now we’re ready to go a step further – by the end of 2020 our goal is that the retailers at our managed stations will no longer provide plastic cutlery or cups.

“We want to be a leader in sustainability and we feel that each of these three goals show a real commitment to change, and recognition of our responsibility to protect the environment.”

Read more: Meet Natalie Whitehead, the 25-year-old manager of Network Rail’s largest recycling site