Media release

Paper cups recognised as recyclable with nation-wide recycling program, Simply Cups

Monday, 1 May 2023


Simply Cups, Australia’s largest paper cup recycling program, has been officially recognised as an Alternative Destination under the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL), giving consumers clear instructions on how to recycle paper cups at one of the 1,500 cup collection locations in Australia. 

Currently paper cups, including coffee cups cannot be recycled in traditional kerbside recycling and as a result are sent to landfill.  

The ARL provides guidance to consumers about which bin packaging should be placed in and includes an Alternative Destination option for specialised recycling programs, such as Simply Cups.  

All paper cups – including coffee cups, soft drink cups, Slurpee cups, etc will soon be able to carry the ARL. Arrangements for this to happen will be finalised mid-late 2023.  

Cups recycled through the Simply Cups program are given a second life in a variety of products made in Australia, including asphalt, lightweight concrete products and as a plasterboard substitute.  

Recognition of the Simply Cups program as a valid recycling solution via the ARL Program is a great boost to the expansion of the ARL which is rapidly becoming the trusted guide to provide consumers with accurate recycling instructions. The ARL is an evidence-based label that provides easy to understand instructions about how to correctly dispose of all parts of a product’s packaging. The ARL ensures that when recycled correctly, materials can be reused again in the future. 

The ARL is managed by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and requires recycling organisations to verify that their packaging is recyclable and demonstrate that there is a sufficient network of recycling points that are easily accessible to the majority of the population. 

It also requires that the solution is available for all brands and types of coffee cups. 

APCO CEO, Chris Foley, commented: “APCO has been collaborating with government, packaging manufacturers, retailers and recyclers to address the recycling confusion prevalent among Australian consumers through the ARL Program. The 2022 Consumer Insights Report revealed that the ARL helps Australians to recycle more and that they want to see it on more packaging. 

“The Simply Cups program for coffee cups is a fantastic initiative and we are delighted to be able to provide the public with clearer guidance and greater opportunities to recycle these products after use”. 

Closed Loop Environmental Solutions, who run the Simply Cups program is thrilled with the recognition of its cup recycling program under the ARL, says Managing Director, Rob Pascoe. 

“Closed Loop Environmental Solutions are delighted to have received ARL recognition for Simply Cups. Simply Cups started in 2017 and now has grown to more than 1,500 collection points nationally.  

Around half of these collection points are accessible to all members of the public, via our partnership with 7-Eleven and an increasing number of shopping centres and supermarkets. We also have hundreds of office buildings, schools, hospitals, construction sites and more providing cup recycling at their workplaces,” says Mr Pascoe. 

Angus McKay, CEO at 7-Eleven, says the ARL recognition is a major achievement for the Simply Cups program. 

“7-Eleven came on board as the Pioneering Partner of Simply Cups in 2017 because, as Australia’s second largest seller of takeaway coffee, we wanted to help provide a recycling solution for the cups. 

Through our partnership with Closed Loop, we have helped save more than 30 million cups from landfill, and we look forward to this number increasingly dramatically now that cups can carry the ARL and help guide consumers to accessible recycling points such as the ones in most 7-Eleven stores,” said Mr McKay. 

Closed Loop continue to explore additional innovative applications for recycled cups as well as other challenging packaging items.  


 Image: Recycling coffee cup with Simply Cups 



Notes to the editor: 

For more information 

Brendan Lee. Circular Economy Manager. 0402 270 120 

About Simply Cups 

Australia’s largest paper cup recycling program is an initiative by Closed Loop. Simply Cups save cups such as coffee cups, take-away soft drink cups and other paper-based cups from landfill and give them a second life. For Simply Cups contact 

About Closed Loop 

With offices in Australia and New Zealand, Closed Loop builds strong partnerships with conscientious clients and stakeholders to identify, design, deliver, communicate and measure bespoke circular economy solutions. For Closed Loop contact 

About Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation  

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not-for-profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia.  


Download media release PDF here. 

More blogs