The Problem With Recyclable Coffee Cups

Can You Recycle Disposable Coffee Cups?
We examine the problems with recyclable coffee cups and more sustainable alternatives by applying the 'Three Rs' - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

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Recyclable Coffee Cups Are Really Hard To Recycle!

We all love to grab a takeaway coffee and most coffee shops will claim they use recyclable coffee cups. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as that though.

So are our takeaway coffee cups sustainable?

You might not realise it but whilst takeaway cups are recyclable less than 1% are actually recycled.

The problem is our used coffee cups need sent to a special recycling centre to separate the polyethylene lining from the paper cup.

But recycling centres can’t separate takeaway coffee cups out from other rubbish. So when you put your cup in the recycling bin they typically end up going to Energy from Waste (EfW) or landfill.

Ouch. Not the sustainable intention we had in mind!

So recyclable coffee cups need put in separate bins but, unlike Leeds City Council, most councils currently don’t provide them.

In addition, our High Streets aren’t the only place where we need cup recycling bins. Over half of us dispose of our takeaway coffee cups at work or university.

Waste management companies like Veolia can provide businesses with coffee cup recycling bins. These include separate sections to dispose of your lids, stirrers, pour away leftover coffee and stack the cups.

They found that 88% of us would happily use a purpose built bin for recyclable coffee cups.

Recyclable Coffee Cups: Are They Sustainable? A summary of hot drink recycling habits compiled by Veolia

So are dedicated coffee cup bins the solution? They can definitely help but we think there is an even more eco friendly solution to recyclable coffee cups.

A More Sustainable Alternative To Recyclable Coffee Cups

We believe in the Three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. These refer to the ways we can minimise our environmental impact from the amount of raw materials, energy and resources we use as well as the amount of waste we create.

Reduce is first because it is the best way to minimise our environmental impact. The less materials and energy we use and waste we create the less demands we place on the environment.

For example, you can reduce your environmental impact by using less takeaway coffee cups. These require paper, plastic and energy to create and we throw them away after just one use.

Reuse is next most important as using something multiple times is much more sustainable than getting a new one every time we need it.

So it makes sense that a reusable coffee cup is more eco friendly than a recyclable coffee cup because we can use it multiple times.

At Reusaboo, we create bold and striking reusable bamboo coffee cups. Our mission is to fight waste and rebel against single-use, disposable culture.

We love bamboo because it’s fast growing, renewable, absorbs large amounts of CO2 and produces more oxygen than other plants. That’s why we think this makes it a perfect raw material for reusable cups.

Finally, Recycle comes last as it is the best solution when we can no longer reuse something. Our cups are biodegradable in just one to three years meaning that, unlike recyclable coffee cups, they can be easily disposed of at the end of their life.

Switching To A Reusable Coffee Cup

If you drink just two takeaway coffees a week switching to a reusable coffee cup would save over 100 disposable cups a year. Even if these cups are being recycled it is still much more sustainable to reuse your own cup.

The Problem With Recyclable Coffee Cups | Switch To A Reusable Bamboo Coffee Cup | Reusaboo

Most coffee shops offer a discount for using your own cup too. You can save up to £0.50 per coffee by switching to a reusable cup. That’s practically getting paid just to drink coffee! You can use our reusable cup calculator to see how much you could save.

Our bamboo coffee cup has been designed to be the perfect replacement for your takeaway cup. We made our cups lightweight so they are easy to carry and they are also dishwasher friendly. They also have a leakproof screw on lid made from bamboo fibre. This keeps your drink in the cup where it is meant to be and won’t taint the taste either.

So our reusable bamboo coffee cup is a great sustainable alternative to recyclable coffee cups.

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