Take-away cups are not that away

Less than 1% of the 2.5 billion disposable cups thrown are actually recycled

It is nine o’clock in the morning and there is a long queue in the coffee shop as people wait patiently for their takeaway dose of caffeine.

In the UK, 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away every year. Committee MP says that less than 1% of them are recycled, even if they are thrown in the recycling bins.

What makes difficult to recycle them is their composition, made of a mix of paper and plastic. Paper can be easily recycled, but it is plastic what makes the cup waterproof. 

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7m cups are thrown away every day in the UK. IMAGE: I. Gomez

So, while the coffee experience lasts no more than five minutes, more than 30 years have to pass in order to break down the cup of coffee.

The University of Essex sells more than 1,000 disposable cups every day. If they were put one above the other, they would reach the same height as the Big Ben.

With the purpose of reducing these numbers, the University encourages students to bring their own cup and get a discount of 10p for their hot drink.

“We should try and tackle this on a micro level instead of just leaving it up to parliament to bring in measures to stop plastic being used,” says the president of the Young Greens Society in the campus, Jessica Davis. She urges to look for alternatives and aims to bring the campus closer to a plastic free zone.

Dominik Burcin, the President of the Coffee Society in the campus, highlights the ecological responsibility of coffee consumers. He says that achieving zero waste is an “urgent issue.”

Nowadays, there are eco-friendly alternatives available in the market to fight against disposable cups. Companies such as FrugalPac or GreenHome provide recycled, biodegradable and fully compostable cups.

 

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