Sustainability is the word on everyone's lips, however, we seem to forget about our environmental concerns as soon as we need our coffee fix. We plough through 2.5 billion of takeaway cups every year in the UK alone and less than 1% of those are recycled.
Consumer behaviour must change and using reusable over recyclable cups seems to be the best way to tackle this issue. To make the transition easier, we have selected the best eco-friendly and reusable coffee cups on the market.
The globe is covered in plastic waste. The "to-go" coffee culture is a big part of this problem. Take Starbucks, for example. Starbucks uses more than 8,000 paper cups a minute, which adds up to more than four billion a year. 1.6 million trees are harvested every year for all of those single-use cups. Since these cups are lined with plastic, they are not really recyclable ─ only four U.S. cities even accept Starbucks paper cups for recycling. Most Starbucks paper cups (even those accepted for recycling) end up in the trash.
The landscape of litter has shifted over the past year. The pandemic has made disposable masks and gloves as commonplace as plastic bottles and cigarette butts on city streets. COVID-19 has fueled a whole new waste stream, putting additional plastics and other material into the environment and harming ecosystems, animals, and human communities as a result.
Companies, countries focus on collecting cups for recycling amid rise of cafes, increased awareness of environmental impact.
At the heart of Ecoffee, lies an easy-to-measure simple impact proposition. “If 2 million people chose to reuse their cup just once a week it would save 104m cups a year from landfill.
The expanded use of environmentally friendly and sustainable foodservice packaging continues to be a prime focus of stakeholders across the foodservice value chain. Paper-based coffee cups is one product segment where effective recycling of waste cups remains elusive.
Paper cups might seem like a better option but, on its own, paper cannot hold liquid so baristas pour coffee into cups lined with polyethylene, a plastic that functions as a moisture barrier. The lining must be separated from the cup before the paper portion can be recycled, explains Rachel A. Meidl PhD, a fellow in Energy and Environment in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University.
“The process is both complex and expensive [so] the cups are routed to landfills or incinerators for final disposal,” Meidl says. “When people erroneously place the coffee cups into their recycling bins, it contaminates the higher value plastic that can be recycled.”
For many of us, coffee is essential. It allows us to function in the morning and gives a much needed boost during the day. But in new research, we revealed the effect that our favourite caffeine hit has on the planet.
Environmental group says another single-use plastic is not a solution, Canada's largest coffee chain will remain huge corporate polluter.
It's gradually becoming common knowledge that it's not as easy to recycle your takeaway coffee cup as people may have thought.
It's the mixture of paper and plastic in their inner lining - designed to make them both heat and leakproof - that causes difficulties.
Our love for coffee and other takeaway foods supports an enormous consumption of disposable cups around the world (billions every year).
It’s a growing environmental problem that deserves attention.
Disposable coffee cups made from new materials are not just a non-solution: they are a perpetuation of the problem. Defending the planet means changing the world.
With only one in 400 cups recycled, and even those barely ‘green’, the hunt is on for an alternative.
Cups are Starbucks’ billboard. They’re a canvas for the Starbucks logo, for your order, your name and for cheerful graphics that signal the holidays are here. As long as they make customers feel good, they’re a big asset to the company.
But those cups could also be a liability for Starbucks.