Yay, the message finally seems to be getting through; single use plastic has just got to go! And we mean sooner rather than later, reusable cups are the way forward!
Disposable? Yes. But recyclable? No
It is a tad confusing because even though the disposable cups that we all use look like they are made from cardboard, the reality is that every minute over 1 million of these cups end up in landfill sites around the world. Over 99% of paper cups are not actually recyclable because they contain a plastic lining which does a great job of preventing the liquid from soaking through the paper but creates quite a headache when it comes to disposing of that cup.
The plastic lining means that most disposable coffee cups cannot be dealt with at conventional recycling facilities. Instead they require handling at specialist centres, only three of which exist in the UK. Throw into the mix the fact that waste is not segregated in high street bins and you can see that as things stand the UK is just not geared up for recycling at scale.
If you consider that the UK uses around 2.5 bn disposable paper coffee cups a year and you can see why it is such a problem.
A joined up approach – or lack of it
There has been a lot of excitement about biodegradable coffee cups as they do provide a more sustainable alternative to plastic-lined cups.
We offer our customers a choice of four of the most popular options:
1.Reusable Puro Bamboo Cups: Made with natural bamboo fibres – one of the world’s most sustainable resources.
2.Reusable HuskUp Cups: Made from rice husk, not plastic, so there’s no melamine, BPA or toxins.
3.Sugarcane Paper Cups: Produced from a by-product of processing sugarcane.
4. 100% Biodegradable cup and lids: They really do what they say! Made from certified FSC board with a starch based compostable lining, these cups are 100% compostable too, so very kind to the environment. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about our biodegradable cup range.
A step in the right direction
Although it is a step in the right direction, disposing of biodegradable cups faces the same challenge as paper cups. Without the necessary recycling facilities most biodegradable coffee cups are likely to end up on landfill as well.
The industry is still debating the whole issue and with the idea of a so called latte levy as a way of raising funds for new recycling facilities having been and gone, what are the realistic next steps for coffee lovers?
Our viewpoint is quite clear. Reusable cups are clearly the way to go. They are in the main environmentally friendly, they keep drinks hot for longer, convenient, easy to hold and baristas love them as they are usually the same size as standard coffee sizes. So come on, what’s not to like?