Earlier this year, the War on Waste TV program shocked many of us showing that more than 1 billion disposable coffee cups are used by Australians each year. Almost all of them go to landfill (as they aren’t recyclable!) That is over 50 000 cups every 30 minutes.
After the show aired, KeepCup, Australia’s largest producer of reusable coffee cups had an unprecedented surge – with sales rising by 400%.
But let’s face it, there are times when you don’t have a KeepCup or your own mug with you and going without coffee isn’t an option! So what are you meant to do? There is a solution on the horizon that will mean you no longer have to feel guilty about that takeaway coffee cup!
Traditionally, coffee cups are coated with polyethylene to seal the cup and hold in the liquid. However, this plastic lining is difficult to separate from the paper cup, and is therefore unable to be processed through current paper recycling streams. So the cups go to landfill.
The RecycleMeTM cups have been made with a calcium carbonate lining that is easy to separate during the recycling process and therefore allows the cup to be processed like any other cardboard or paper.
A week long trial of the RecycleMeTM cups was recently undertaken in selected locations in SA, TAS, VIC and NSW, with over 13 000 cups walking out the door with consumers. KESAB partnered with Detpak for the BlueBinMe trial and campaign to provide independent auditing assistance and education to consumers.
The BlueBinMe campaign is the first step in getting recyclable coffee cups into café’s around the country and also included specialised bins to ensure capture of the recyclable paper cup, and separation of the lid (which is plastic and therefore not suitable for paper/cardboard recycling, but can be processed through the existing kerbside co-mingled recycling.).
But why is recycling coffee cups important?
The number of cups currently going to landfill is staggering and there is a real need to decrease the amount of material going to landfill in Australia. Secondly, paper is a valuable resource and the strong paper fibres in these cups can be repurposed into consumer goods up to 7 times.
The final product of the recycled cups is mixed bleached paper waste, which is a resource that is purchased by companies in Australia (and internationally) to be made into writing paper, liners, cardboard boxes and even paperback covers.
There are already compostable cups, so why is a recyclable coffee cup such a big deal?
True – there are compostable cups in many café’s around the country. However, these cups need to be processed in a commercial composting facility and can’t go in household or retail compost bins. Also the waste sorting bodies are unable to identify them as compostable against other disposable cups, so they still require a separate collection system. Currently, it is estimated that less than 1% are being composted.
Will the recyclable coffee cups need their own collection system?
The RecycleMeTM cups are recyclable as paper/cardboard, so thismeans they can go into your workplace cardboard and recycling bins (typically blue bins – hence the BlueBinMe campaign!) The bins are already in many workplaces around the country! All you have to do is remember to take the lid off and not leave any coffee in the cup!
The RecycleMeTM cups will be available for commercial sale in the coming months. Contact Detpak for more information.