Takeaway coffee cups have been in the news a lot this year. For many of us it may have come as a surprise that less than 1% of apparently recyclable coffee cups (many do, after all, support a recyclable logo) are actually recycled. The UK uses around 2.5 billion cups each year; of which only 10 million are recycled. Much of the problem lies in their plastic lining, which is tightly bonded to the paper cup and further complicated by contamination by hot drinks. This means that they have to be taken to specialist facilities ... but more often than not they end up in the trash (even if we have diligently put them in our recycling bins).
Unrecycled plastics take 100s of years to break down, leaving a trail of environmental damage along the way - not least when they are ingested by animals or result in the release of potentially toxic chemicals. Whatsmore, many of the cups are made from virgin paper pulp, which means trees are felled simply to keep us in hot drinks while we are on the move. Not to mention the carbon footprint of manufacturing and distributing the little blighters.
The Environmental Audit Committee is now calling for a 25p "latte levy" on disposable cups, and for all cups to be recycled by 2023. If this target isn't met the Committee recommends that disposable cups are banned entirely.
So, what can we do?? Waitrose has already committed to canning paper cups by November this year; Costa have committed to recycling 500 million cups a year by 2020; and popular chains such as Pret a Manger are now offering generous discounts if you bring your own cup.
At Indigo Valley, we stock a range of recyclable and fully compostable options. You can also find out where to take your takeaway cups here:
We are also about to launch our very own range of KeepCups at hugely discounted prices. We'd love to hear what you've been up to to address the problem.