I’m sure you are aware of the plastic epidemic that is literally taking over the world. From the uninhabited and remote, like South Sentinel Island to the rubbish on Brighton beach right here in the UK. While plastic is a major concern, the paper component of coffee cups is not without its environmental harms either.
One of the biggest misconceptions with disposable coffee cups is whilst they are recyclable, they are not recycled. These coffee cups are made predominantly of paper, then lined with a plastic polyethylene, which is bonded to the paper to make the cup waterproof and able to hold liquid. They also get contaminated by the drink adding to the difficulty of recyclability. The reality is that due to the way these cups are produced and used they cannot be recycled at a standard recycling plant and must be processed by one of only 3 specialised recycling facilities in the UK! – The statistics are shocking as only 1% of disposable coffee cups ever end up being recycled. The rest go into to landfill, where they gradually breakdown resulting in tiny “micro plastics” These and other chemicals can be ingested by animals and are causing danger to flora fauna & humans alike.
“Every minute over one million cups end up in landfills globally”
In a recent report by the House of Commons environmental audit committee it has been recommended the government take action that by 2023 and all single use coffee cups should be disposed of in recycling bins and recycled an alternative is to ban all disposable coffee cups. That’s only 5 years away! Raising awareness of the nature of disposable coffee cups is important, but one of the report’s key recommendations is that companies must take responsibility for the impact of their cups. By setting into motion the mechanisms to prevent the use of these coffee cups, the Government could pave the way for policy that prevents the misuse or indeed use of all non-recyclable products.
I think we are all agreed that the plastic in our oceans is a disgrace, although coffee cups may be the tip of the “Plastic” iceberg, we are all in this together and we must take collective action. Firstly we need to look at what we can do and take personal responsibility for protecting our environment and action needs to be taken.
Here at Crown we are in the process of pulling together our 5 year environment audit strategy which will look at how we can reduce our carbon footprint and change our processes and habits to support the reduction in plastic and other waste. As a first step we are introducing a re-usable coffee cup into our range and over the coming months will grow our supply products to support you in reducing plastic waste.