Passengers at Britain’s biggest and busiest stations can now shop more sustainably thanks to a new initiative from Network Rail.

To mark UN World Environment Day, Network Rail has introduced a scheme which will highlight greener retailers to passengers, who can now look out for a sustainability seal of approval in retail windows.

This follows our commitments in 2018 to:

  • Ban retailers from supplying plastic cutlery and cups in managed stations by the end of 2020
  • Implement a coffee cup recycling scheme for managed stations by the end of 2020
  • Expand the roll out of coffee ground recycling to all managed stations by the end of 2020

Just one year on and half of all managed station retailers have stopped supplying plastic cups and cutlery and 74% of Network Rail’s managed stations now recycle coffee grounds.

While trials are underway to find a suitable system for recycling coffee cups, the organisation is achieving a 73% average recycling rate in their managed stations, with 99% of waste diverted from landfill.

The progress made against these commitments is part of Network Rail’s ongoing environmental efforts and ambition to be a market leader in sustainability. As one of the Britain’s largest retail landlords, Network Rail is using its position to encourage the adoption of green initiatives for the benefit of passengers and the environment.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “We are committed to making stations greener and as part of that commitment, we want to be transparent about sustainable practices in our stations.

“We have put passengers and their values at the heart of this new scheme and hope that the seal of approval will go some way to making it easier for them to shop sustainably in our stations.”

David Biggs, managing director, Network Rail Property, added: “We know that our passengers are increasingly environmentally conscious, and we will continue to work with retailers to make further progress on our commitments.

“Many retailers are already on track to meet our commitments ahead of the 2020 deadline, so passengers should start to see a real reduction in the amount of single use plastic in their stations over the coming months.”

Seal of approval sustainability stickers will be rolled out across Network Rail’s managed stations from today.

Notes to editors

  1. Our managed stations

National stations

London stations

Birmingham New Street

Cannon Street

Bristol Temple Meads

Charing Cross

Edinburgh Waverley


Glasgow Central

King’s Cross


London Bridge

Liverpool Lime Street

Liverpool Street

Manchester Piccadilly



St Pancras International

(lower level)

Retail at St Pancras is managed by HS1






Clapham Junction

Progress made against these commitments so far includes:

  • 49% of stations no longer supply plastic cutlery or cups
  • 74% of stations now recycle coffee grounds
  • 73% average recycling rate across managed stations
  • 99% of station waste diverted from landfill

    Plastic Cup definition

Network Rail defines plastic cup as a single-use plastic cup made available in retail outlets for customers. For example, for complimentary water.

The majority of our retailers already use recyclable plastics for cold takeaway drinks such as smoothies, which we are able to recycle in our stations as part of our existing recycling regime. Retailers who use recyclable or alternative materials for cups and/or cutlery are able to display our seal of approval.

Network Rail is working with retailers to find a long-term solution for the recycling of coffee cups that contain plastic linings.

About Network Rail Property

Network Rail Property is the land and commercial division of Network Rail, tasked with generating funds to be reinvested back into the railway.  Our projects help deliver transport and station-led regeneration, housing, jobs and economic growth.