Can You Recycle Disposable Coffee Cups?

Well, there is actually not a simple yes or no answer to this very important question. 

Depending on the technology utilised by your local council's waste management service, you may or may not be able to put cups in the recycling bin. While many waste management facilities consider disposable cups a contaminant, some have machinery capable of separating the paper from the poly-coated layer, so the best advice we can offer is to check with your local council and make sure you're following the rules.

When it comes down to it though, we still feel it is best to get on-board the reusable cup train, because it's not just the disposal of cups that is problematic. It's the precious virgin resources (trees, water, energy etc) that are wasted in the production of single use products.

According to this Smart Company article, sales of Keep Cups, one of our favourite reusable cup brands, have sky-rocketed and are up 400% since the airing of the ABC's War on Waste, which we think is absolutely great! 

So let's make this trend stick!

As sustainability guru Joost Bakker commented in interview with Studio Thick

"Everybody always uses the excuse, ‘I’m too busy’. They’ve got plenty of time to go on Instagram and Facebook but they don’t have time to sit down and have a coffee. I think the next generation will look down on that behaviour. People will be embarrassed to be walking around with a coffee cup."

Joost also recently appeared on the War on Waste and on his Facebook page commented:

"There are lots of stories going around that they can be recycled. I have tried over the years to shred, compost even soak and introduce microbes, let me tell you THEY DON’T BIODEGRADE EASILY AND ARE DEFINITELY NOT COMPOSTABLE! I know of only two companies globally that can recycle them, one is in the UK. (And is having lots of problems trying to recycle them, they were successful with their pilot program with clean, new cups but are struggling with used cups) and other is in Italy, they have created and parented a system that successfully recycles plastic coated fibre containers. My point is why do we need to create this waste in the first place?" 

Which is exactly our feeling on the issue. We specialise in dealing with hard-to-recycle materials and it absolutely breaks our collective hearts to see the volume of perfectly good materials being disposed of. So we try and find the best solution... but in reality, wouldn't it be better if we didn't need to? 

So, while it is great to be informed about proper processing of materials (definitely check with your local council), we will continue to ask...

Why do we need to create this waste in the first place?