Hugh's War On Waste: The Battle Continues

Confirmed for BBC One on 28 July at 9pm to 10pm

Thursday 28 July



Hugh’s War On Waste continues, and he’s got two new massive corporate targets in his sights. This time he’s taking on Amazon, for the amount of packaging it produces; and the coffee shop giants, Starbucks, Costa, and Caffe Nero, for a recycling scandal that most of us never even knew existed.

In the UK we throw away a staggering 2.5 billion cardboard coffee cups every year*. But our growing caffeine addiction brings with it a dark secret. Virtually none of these discarded cups end up being recycled. In fact, 99 percent of them are sent to landfill or incineration.**

Hugh discovers that part of the reason for this is that most people assume that their coffee cups do get recycled  - and don’t even know that there is a problem. Internet shoppers know the frustrations of excess packaging, and when Hugh asks his online supporters who the worst offender is, the answer’s clear: it’s Amazon.

Hugh’s hoping that he can build on the successes his battle against food waste is having on the supermarkets. Last year he uncovered the shocking amounts of food that was being thrown away on British farms because their produce didn’t fit the supermarkets’ strict cosmetic standards. But since 300,000 people signed his pledge to end this waste, all of the major supermarkets have taken steps to increase the amount of ‘ imperfect' veg they now sell - some of them introducing brand new ‘wonky' ranges designed to get people engaged with the issue, and others deciding to relax their general cosmetic standards across some veg lines.

And the UK’s biggest food redistribution charity, Fareshare, has told Hugh that since his last programmes went out, donations to them have increased by a staggering 60 percent, meaning that an extra 50,000 people every week are being fed - with food that would otherwise have ended up in a bin.***

After weeks of chasing Amazon, Hugh finally gets access to one of its biggest UK distribution centres and meets its global packaging expert from America. But will they actually commit to change? And when the coffee giants seem shy of coming forward to tackle their waste crisis, Hugh takes to the streets in a coffee cup covered battle bus - and the issue suddenly goes viral.

Notes to Editors

* source: Simply Cups / Whitbread 
** source: Simply Cups  Their target is based solely on post-consumer cups. 6,000,000 pa MAX = 0.24% of total cups a year in UK. On Costa’s website, it says that they use 300m cups a year. 1% would be 3m.
*** source: Fareshare, 2016