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Plastic cups in the UK contribute to the same emission levels as 33,300 cars, many of us still don’t realise that plastic-coated cups cannot be recycled like other paper and cardboard.
In the UK we use 7 million disposable coffee cups every day – that’s 2.5 billion every year.
But the problems with coffee cups go beyond their sheer numbers.
Misconceptions surrounding recycling
Perhaps the biggest issue with disposable coffee cups is the disconnect between their alleged recyclability and the rate at which they are actually recycled.
Cups are technically recyclable, something that some coffee companies actively promote on their packaging.
However, due to the complicated way in which they are produced, the vast majority of coffee cups do not end up being recycled.
Imagine that for every 100 SoL Cups sold, that's 75,000 single-use cups saved from landfills/our oceans. So if 1 million SoLmates in the UK committed to using a reusable coffee cup, we could save over 750 million from landing in landfills just in the UK. Which sounds like a lot, but is just a drop in the ocean! 1 million people is only 3% of the population. When you start to talk numbers it just blows your mind!
There are four practical things that you can do to reduce coffee cup landfills that will not mean giving up your daily coffee ritual.
Here are some more facts:
Disposable paper cups contain 5% polyurethane plastic, making composting and recycling of disposable cups extremely rare. Half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured annually around the world; that’s over 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet. Most plastic used in the world today is for single-use items.
Very little recycled paper is used to make disposable cups due to health risk concerns.