SSP UK introduces plastic-free coffee cup lids


Removing more than eight million plastic lids across its own brands

SSP, a leading operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, has reinforced its commitment to sustainability by removing plastic lids from its own-brand hot beverage cups and replacing them with a plastic-free alternative.

The new lids, made of bagasse which is derived from sugar cane stalks, will remove more than eight million single-use plastic items from SSP’s own-brand supply chain each year, weighing in excess of 45 tonnes, more than three Routemaster buses. Placed side-by-side, the current lids would also stretch 792km – longer than the distance from Aberdeen to Bournemouth.

The bagasse lids are also free from PFAS, or “forever chemicals”, which research* shows can be harmful to humans. They will be used at brands including AMT Coffee and Upper Crust.

Kari Daniels, CEO SSP UK & Ireland, said; “This is a significant step forward in our sustainability journey. Making the move to bagasse lids not only reduces our reliance on plastic but, because the plants can regrow, we are securing the longevity of our supply chain from renewable sources.”

The announcement comes on Earth Day, which this year focuses on “Planet vs. Plastics”. SSP is committed to eliminating all unnecessary single-use plastics from its own-brand packaging and ensuring 100% is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. The company has already switched its own-brand cold drinks cups to rPET, which includes recycled material.

SSP’s sustainability strategy focuses on 10 key commitments in the three areas of Product, Planet and People, and includes its ambitious, science-based target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its value chain by 2040, from a 2019 base year. The strategy also aligns to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including responsible consumption and production, zero hunger and climate action.

This year, ​SSP UK has become a signatory of the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, one of the UK’s leading food waste initiatives, developed by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and a member of the IGD (Institute of Grocery Distribution). The company also partners with organisations to redistribute surplus food.


*The research can be viewed here A review of recent studies on toxicity, sequestration, and degradation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) - ScienceDirect