A mountain of waste
In the UK alone we throw away an estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. 2.5 billion! That’s 10,000 every two minutes, and seven million a day. This equates to around 25,000 tonnes of rubbish annually. This baffles me, especially with how easy it is to have a coffee delivery, because you simply don’t need to buy coffee whilst you’re out and about, you could just take a flask!
Although in theory, coffee cups are recyclable, only a very small percentage (1%) is dealt with in a sustainable manner.
Last year, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall drew attention to the fact that there is a mountain of single-use coffee cups being formed which can’t be recycled. Paper cups are lined with plastic to make them impermeable which makes it much more difficult to recycle. Scientists estimate that it will take decades for single-use coffee cups to decompose, and even then, the environmental impact is massive!
For health and safety reasons the paper used to make coffee cups mustn’t be recycled. It’s estimated that we cut down around 100,000 trees each year to keep up with Britain’s coffee culture.
Cutting back on single use
The Environmental Committee has introduced a number of initiatives designed to reduce the number of paper coffee cups being dumped in our landfills each year. There are dedicated coffee cup recycling bins dotted around London in a bid to increase recycling and the same will arrive in Manchester next week.
Previously, coffee shops have been encouraged to add a charge for single-use cups and offer a discount for reusable cups. In a study carried out by Cardiff University, it was found that a 25p charge on disposable cups increased the use of reusable alternatives. However, the amount of cups being thrown away is still in the billions.
Hydro Flask coffee flip cup
Rather than getting your takeaway coffee in a paper cup, you could ask for a reusable cup. Even better, you could take your own cup with you. The Hydro Flask Coffee Flip cup is the perfect companion to keep your coffee warm whilst reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the bin. Take your flask into your favourite coffee shop and ask for your favourite coffee to go in your flask. The double wall vacuum will keep your drink warm and the flip lid allows you to open and close the flask with one hand. Perfect on the move, whether in the city or heading out to the hills.
Coffee culture is not going to change. People love coffee. No, people need coffee. And in this fast-paced world, take away coffee is king. But by making subtle changes to our habits, we can reduce the damage being done to our fragile planet. Take your flask with you next time and ask for your drink to be poured into it. You can’t stash a paper cup in your backpack either, can you?
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