Paper cups for hot drinks
More than 2.5bn paper cups are thrown away in the UK every year that’s more than enough cups to encircle the world five and a half times. Regrettably the vast majority of paper cups end up in landfill waste but some are recycled this still amounts to a staggering amount estimated to be around 25,000 tonnes of waste – enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Conventional paper cups are made from paper laminated with plastic, making them difficult to recycle which is one primary reason it makes it difficult for the innocuous paper cup is not easily recyclable. Under EU health and safety regulations, coffee cups cannot be made from 100% paper or cardboard alone as they require protection from burning and scalding. Hence a thin layer of plastic is bonded on to the cup to keep the drink warm and stop the paper from getting soggy and disintegrating in the hand or on the table. The bonding process is so tight that to separate the recyclable paper from the plastic coating is virtually impossible for machinery at waste separation centres that virtually all paper cups are rejected as non-recyclable and sent straight to landfill.
One British entrepreneur and engineer Martin Myerscough, founder of the ‘cardboard’ bottle now being used for milk and wine, has devised an alternative to make recycling easier. The Green Your Cup has a thin film liner that is designed to separate easily from the paper in the recycling process, leaving 100% paper which can then be recycled. This engineering success will hopefully make the recycling of paper cups a more sustainable and environmentally friendly method so that the paper cups can be thrown straight into recycling bins at the place of work, which will help consumers who are confused about which bins to use.
It’s hoped that this smart solution to a wasteful problem of paper cups recycling will help reverse the trend and make the humble paper cup a recyclable cup the company is currently in talks with major coffee franchises chains and supermarkets and hopefully the recyclable paper cup will be served up with your cafe latte in the New Year.
The consumer group Which? Has criticised major retailers’ use of “mixed materials” in coffee cups, and has urged providers to take more environmental responsibility by giving consumers clearer information about recycling.
When you next go into your favourite coffee store or food chain why don’t you ask if the paper cup they use is truly recyclable and put some pressure on the retailor to be more environmentally friendly as a solution is out there to make your next paper cup a nicer one.
For more information on our large range of coffee machines call Kerry on 0800 454 301.