We Australians love our coffee, and it shows, with 3 billion single use coffee cups discarded per year. But did you know that coffee cups aren’t recyclable?
This coming from Choice, a reputable publication.
Even though commingled recycling in our area accepts paper and containers with symbols 1 – 7, the cup is neither one nor the other – it’s actually both.
The paper outer is actually lined with plastic. This is the reason your coffee doesn’t soak all the way through the cup right away. It’s also what makes recycling a challenge, and that’s why the vast majority of councils, including Waverley Council, cannot process cups placed into recycling.
If placed in the paper recycling bins, coffee cups contaminate the whole bin, which then has to go to landfill, not the paper recycling plant.
This counteracts the efforts of others who may share the bin, and indeed one’s own efforts!
So what’s a coffee lover to do?
If your intentions are good, but you’ve been unintentionally undermining your attempts to live more sustainably, take heart, there are other ways to get your coffee without the waste.
- Slow down and enjoy that cup of coffee in a cafe from a real cup and saucer.
- If you must rush away, ask to use your own reusable cup. Many people are doing it, and most baristas are happy to oblige. Sometimes this can even save you money – check out the Responsible Cafes in your area.
- Go topless! If you do go with a disposable cup, skip the lid. Or if you end up with a lid in spite of your best efforts, you can add that piece only to the recycling.
And remember, whatever you do, DON’T put your coffee cup in the recycling.
Read the full article in Choice.