The Enormous Waste Mountain of Disposable Coffee Cups

Each day, thousands of coffee drinkers place their used disposable coffee cups into recycling bins. However, these cups aren’t often recyclable, yet up to 2.5 billion of them are thrown away every year.

They are a common sight in the streets of Britain. Pass down any busy road and you will see people walking along the pavements clutching at these so called, disposable coffee cups. If you total up the massive number of cups used, more than 7 million each day, barely any of them are recycled. No one seems to want to take responsibility, not even the big coffee store chains that create this waste mountain of coffee cups in the first place.



Construction of a disposable coffee cup

The High Street coffee chains such as Costa, Café Nero and Starbucks all provide take away cups that are currently almost impossible to recycle. To ensure these cups are waterproof, polythene is fused with the card to make it more watertight. This means that it’s impossible for them to be separated again in a recycling plant. They have a similar make up to those dratted foil-lined, juice cartons that cannot be recycled either.

The majority of consumers wrongly think that these paper cups are environmentally friendly and an ethical choice. However, the cups are not even constructed from recycled material in the first instance. Due to the impact of the addition of hot liquid they need to be manufactured from virgin paper pulp.

Are they actually recyclable?

It is possible to recycle disposable coffee cups. However, this procedure can only be carried out in one of only 2 highly specialised recycling plants in the UK. Neither of these plants is operating to full recycling capacity.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall War on Waste

During the summer of 2016 eco warrior, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, launched a campaign to bring this matter to the attention of the great British public. At the time of writing, the cause is having some impact on at least a few of the major coffee chain stores. Their management has stated that until they receive absolute clarity that their cups are actually being recycled in a correct manner, they have decided to remove the logo of the Mobius Loop from their coffee cups and to replace it with an alternative logo, the Tidyman.

We must reduce the impact of waste

Now that the major stores are aware of this problem, they have commenced in store recycling in some High Street areas. But what happens to take-away, disposable coffee cups when they have left the store, and are taken home or back to the office. Whether you are drinking your coffee at work, home or in a public space, we must be able to recycle these coffee cups to protect our planet and the environment around us.  A step in the right direction would be to take them back to the coffee shop you got them from.

Ethically produced single origin coffee beans

The Coffee Wholesalers supply coffee beans that have been produced by Fair Trade means. This sustains the environment by providing machinery and plants to wash the beans, medical facilities and schools for the employees and their children. Our company policy is “to help ensure a healthy environment for current and future generations”.