Despite being technically recyclable, the vast majority of disposable coffee cups never actually end up successfully being recycled. In the UK we use a whopping 7 million disposable coffee cups every day, half a million of which just end up being littered. Even when a cup is put in the correct recycling bin, complications due to the polyethylene coating and the damage from the drink itself means that over 99% just end up going on a landfill.
In a previous blog post we looked into how big an issue this is in the UK and why, but what are coffee shops doing to help deal with the issue, and is there anything we could be doing as consumers?
How coffee shops can help
The Environmental Audit Committee has set the goal of all disposable coffee cups being recycled by 2023, and if this isn’t met there’s a chance they could be banned entirely. Here are some of the ways coffee shops around the country have been trying to do their part to address the issue.
- Both high street chains and artisan coffee specialists alike have embraced the culture around reusable cups, with most shops selling them on-site.
- Many coffee shops also offer a discount for any customer who brings in their own cup.
- Most coffee shops also have recycling on site to dispose of takeaway cups, meaning they are less likely to be littered or thrown in the bin.
- Costa Coffee stores around the country will now recycle disposable cups from any store, not just their own.
How you can help
The responsibility isn’t just on coffee shop owners though, consumers also need to do their part to minimise the environmental issues our coffee drinking causes. Here are some ways you can help out, both in coffee shops and in the workplace.
- Ensure cups are completely empty when recycled, as this can cause problems at the recycling centre.
- Remove the lid and recycle this with other plastics, as these parts cannot be recycled together.
- Bring your own cup with you rather than relying on disposables.
- Drink coffees in instead of taking away, you could use this time to catch up on emails or just relax for 10 minutes.
- Use disposable cups multiple times when possible, such as with self-service machines in offices.
- Fill a pot of coffee for your team to reduce waste and encourage people to reuse their cups.
Having a coffee machine in the workplace that has the option to fill up a whole pot has the added benefit of being incredibly convenient on top of the environmental impact. The WMF 1200 F filtered coffee machine produces outstanding quality filtered coffee, and can brew half a litre in only 65 seconds, making it the ideal choice for any busy workplace.
Download a brochure to see the whole range.