We are a nation of caffeine addicts. It’s estimated that 50 billion paper coffee cups are being thrown away in the USA every year and 2.5 billion coffee cups in the UK.
Most of us like to think we’re doing the right thing with the empty cup, and throw it into the bin marked “recycling,” but it has recently been revealed that only 1 in 400 coffee cups are recycled because they are made of a difficult-to-recycle mix of paper and plastic.
The problem is that “paper” cups are not actually simply made of paper but include a layer of polyethylene. This means they cannot simply be recycled with paper or cardboard and end up in landfill sites for decades.
If we collected all the billions of paper cups that end up in landfill sites every year in the US and compared them against the height of the Space Needle in Seattle (home to Starbucks), Eco2Greetings.com has revealed what the waste mountain of coffee cups might look like.
Next time you visit your favourite coffee shop before work, consider purchasing a reusable coffee cup that has less of an impact on the environment. If we make enough noise, these large coffee companies will have no choice but to step up and start dealing with their woeful waste issue.
Commenting on the issue earlier this year, a spokesperson for Starbucks said: “Reusable cups are a key part of our overall waste reduction strategy – and we have been offering a money off incentive to anyone who brings in a reusable cup for over a decade. We don’t include recycling symbols on our paper cups. We are… undertaking a trial with our waste management supplier Veolia on cup segregation and collection. We are also exploring potential solutions with cup suppliers, including testing Frugalpac on our standards for safety and quality.”
For more information, http://www.eco2greetings.com/News/waste-mountain-of-coffee-cups.html.