Since I work from home I don't use disposable cups on a daily basis. Today though heralds the end of the school term for my children which means six weeks of regular trips out. We're quite good at planning our food and drink to cut down on costs both financially and environmentally. You can't plan for everything and sometimes you need to grab a drink in a takeaway cup. Whilst I always make sure I dispose of them cups carefully it still bothers me that something goes through such a long manufacturing process only to used for such a short period of time before being sent to landfill. If you use a lot of disposable cups have a look at today's guest post.
“As a society, we're becoming increasingly conscious of the environment. We make greener choices on a daily basis, like switching off lights and recycling, but how much impact does our daily takeaway coffees have? Here, we look at how disposable cups have impacted the environment and what the future holds.
Recycling disposable coffee cups
Walk down any British high street and you'll see a plethora of people brandishing disposable coffee cups. However, did you know that only one in 1,000 takeaway coffee cups get recycled in the UK? While you may think that this is down to a lax attitude to recycling, it's actually a result of a general inability to recycle them.
A paper cup is made up of paper, which is coated in plastic to strengthen it and make it fit for purpose. This makes recycling difficult, as the plastic has to be separated from the paper before it can be re-purposed. There are just two recycling plants in the UK that can do this. These are located in West Yorkshire and Cumbria so, depending on where you live, your paper cups may not be being recycled and could have made their way to landfill sites.
So what are the other options? If you are popping to your local café, why not take your own travel mug? Instead of throwing them out after use, you can simply wash and reuse them. However, this option isn't for everyone.
Rather, look for outlets that serve their produce in biodegradable cups. This type of disposable cup is much kinder to the environment, as they are designed to be broken down naturally when they reach the landfill. Some options are better than others. Take biodegradable tableware for example. They are made from bagasse, which is considered a waste product in itself, making them an even greener option.
While it's impossible to know what the future holds, recent developments could be a sign of things to come. As a nation of coffee lovers, it's likely that additional specialist recycling plants will open across the UK, especially when you consider the government's recycling targets.
Likewise, with the pressure on businesses to deliver strong corporate social responsibility policies, we can expect to see a shift in the types of disposable cups available in food outlets, as we move closer to green ways of living and working.”
Do you use disposable coffee cups? Have you ever thought of their environmental impact?