Coffee cup waste and tackling this issue
Are you a bit of a caffeine addict? If you enjoy a cup of coffee from your favourite café every day on the way to work, or nip out of the office for a pick-me-up mid-afternoon to get you through the afternoon slump then you’re joining the 7 million others in the UK who buy a coffee in a disposable cup. This naturally creates an enormous amount of waste, because these disposable coffee cups are not recyclable.
Normally, socially conscious-shoppers would look for information on the packaging of a product to indicate that it has been made with sustainable or recycled material, to limit your carbon footprint when making your purchase. However, as coffee cups are in contact with your tea or coffee, they have to be made with virgin paper pulp, and afterwards they are immediately thrown away as recycling options are very limited. This is because in order to make the cups watertight, the paper has to be treated with a thin layer of plastic coating – in fact, it’s estimated that fewer than 1 in 400 disposable coffee cups are recycled.
So what can you do about tackling this issue?
1. Take advantage of coffee shops and chains that offer rewards for bringing your own cup. Starbucks have recognised that this waste issue is a problem, and so they have started to put initiatives in place to try and combat the number of coffee cups thrown away every day. They offer customers who bring their own mug a 25p discount on every drink.
2. If you are choosing to sit in and enjoy a cup of coffee in your favourite café, make sure you opt for a ceramic mug instead. There’s no sense in wasting a disposable cup when you don’t need one.
3. Find creative ways to reuse your coffee cups and give them new life – we love the idea of poking a few holes in the bottom and using it as a planter for herbs on your windowsill. Check out this list for more creative ways to do more with your cups instead of sending them to landfill.
While the thought of giving up coffee entirely is unthinkable, we would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how we could reduce the amount of coffee cups that get used. We are in the business of waste management, so anything we can do to help lower our carbon footprint in relation to this growing global concern can only be a good thing.