Have you ever thought about what happens to all the coffee cups that coffee drinkers of the world use and throw away? There are a lot of coffee cups that are used just one time and then thrown in the garbage can without a second thought being given. Even if a person uses one disposable coffee cup a day, that is still 365 cups in a year. And it’s a safe bet that most coffee drinkers drink more than one cup of coffee a day.
Fortunately, there are several alternatives to simply throwing away coffee cups that can make a difference for the environment. You can play a role in limiting the amount of coffee cups that end up in landfills whether you are a consumer, a business owner who sells coffee, or a business owner who has a coffee room for their employees. Here are a couple of options you can percolate about (pardon the pun).
Coffee Cup Solutions for Business Owners
Recycling coffee cups
One of the best options for coffee drinkers who use disposable coffee cups is to recycle coffee cups. In London there are an estimated 7 million coffee cups a day thrown into landfills. Instead of throwing these cups in with other garbage, one idea is to simply recycle those empty cups. There are coffee chains and even some employers who want to do their part for the environment, so they are introducing dedicated coffee cup recycling facilities for coffee drinkers to dispose of their cups. This huge commitment can help the UK to make a difference for the environment.
Paper coffee cups often have plastic lining to make sure they are waterproof and prevent coffee from leaching through the walls and bottoms of the cup, burning the coffee drinker’s hand. This has been a challenge for recycling because often these types of cups can’t be recycled since traditional processing plants can’t separate the materials. However, for the cups that can be recycled, a variety of items can be made: park benches, pencils, and pens, among other things, can be made from recycled coffee cups. These can then be donated to local parks and schools, further benefiting the community.
Recyclable coffee cups
Ideally, coffee cups can be made from paper that can be recycled at traditional coffee cup recycling plants. There’s a coffee cup revolution happening right now - a game-changing product called the reCup is expected to soon be sold in the UK. This disposable cup is designed to be used once and then recycled at traditional paper recycling plants. While the cost of this cup should be comparable to traditional paper coffee cups, the difference is that the lining in the cup is designed to have up to 50% less plastic in it. This means that there will be less plastic to remove from the cup during the recycling process.
There are also cups developed by Frugalpac that have replaced the plastic lining in traditional coffee cups. Instead, the cups use a thin film that separates from the cup during the recycling process. If this works, it could resolve the issue of recycling cups and perhaps allow even traditional processing facilities to recycle.
Coffee Cup Solutions for Consumers
If you are a consumer there are some things you can do to help limit the amount of coffee cups sent to landfills. You can, of course, use recyclable disposable coffee cups. You can look for the cups that have the recycle symbol on them and throw them out with the rest of your recyclable paper items.
Another option for coffee consumers is to simply purchase a reusable coffee cup. It’s obviously better for the environment to use just one cup for coffee instead of using hundreds of cups per year and tossing them in the garbage. According to recent stats, the UK is said to throw away 3 billion disposable cups per year. Yes, that’s billion with a ‘B’!
One brand of coffee cup that coffee fans enjoy hails from the land down under and is called the KeepCup. It comes in five sizes and a range of colors as well. One of its great features is the lid that makes it very difficult to spill coffee on your hand. It is also BPA free so you don’t have to worry about any of those nasty chemicals leaching out into your coffee. When you are ready for a new KeepCup, you can recycle your old one and get another.
Another option is Joco. It comes in glass with a colored silicone sleeve to protect your hands from the heat of the coffee. The great thing about a glass coffee mug is that glass won’t affect the taste of your coffee the way some plastics will. This option comes in three different sizes and has over 20 colour options.
The great thing about many reusable coffee cups is that they can make your coffee stay hotter for longer than most disposable cups, so not only are you getting a better, longer-lasting cup of coffee, but also helping the environment.
As residents of the planet Earth, we can all play our role in reducing wastes. If we are coffee drinkers there are many options that are now available to reduce the amount of coffee cups thrown away compared to times past. If we all make small changes in some our habits, such as reducing the amount of coffee cups thrown away, it can make a big difference.