High street coffee chain Costa Coffee will launch a cup recycling scheme from next year across 2,000 UK stores, with the aim of recycling 30 million takeaway cups a year.

Customers will be asked to return takeaway cups – including those from rival chains - to a Costa store where they will be collected by Costa employees.

The coffee chain will work with waste partner Veolia to transport them to specialist waste processing plants, which have the capability to recycle takeaway coffee cups.

Costa will be rolling out the scheme at the end of January after a successful trial across London and Manchester prompted the decision.

Jason Cotta, managing director of Costa UK, said the coffee chain wanted to make it as easy as possible for the public to recycle their used coffee cups.

“Our research in Manchester and London shows around 40 cups per day are left in stores, which means we have the potential to recycle 30 million Costa cups a year, he said.

“What’s more, the fact we will accept competitors’ cups means we could significantly increase that figure. This will not be a trial. This is going to be business as usual.”

Costa’s decision has been backed by trade body the British Coffee Association.

Chris Stemman, executive director of the association, said he believed paper coffee cups and being able to recycle them should be a primary focus for the UK coffee industry.

“There are a number of different approaches that have been looked at and undertaken by the industry, including new materials for cups, new waste collection streams, and encouraging consumers to proactively recycle these materials,” he said.

“This latest move from Costa is a big step forward for sustainability in the UK coffee industry.”