Posted in Kafevend Blog
Welcome back to the Kafevend blog! In today's blog we are looking at a pretty important issue- recycling. We've covered the topic before- if you're at all interested, our blog on how coffee beans can be recycled was a good'un . We are back on the subject of coffee again today, but this time we're taking a look at the prolific paper coffee cup: the problems with it and (surprisingly simple) ways around it.
Estimates put the number of paper coffee cups used in the UK at 8 million every day- a bit under 3 billion every year. As you might imagine- or possibly can't- that's quite a lot. But not to worry, you think- paper is recyclable! Unfortunately, it isn't quite as easy as that. The first problem is getting them into the right bins in the first place. There are still many folk who approach recycling in the same way others deal with their dog's doings-'I can't be bothered- no one's seen me, I'll scarper'- naughty! If however you're the responsible sort and do dispose of your coffee cup correctly, unfortunately it still isn't a given that it will be recycled.
The problem is down to the make up of the average coffee cup. It isn't just paper- if it was, it would soon dissolve and you'd be mopping the coffee off your shirt. In order to avoid this, it is coated with plastic, and herein lies the problem- separating the two is pretty tricky. Whilst it's not beyond our means to do this and deal with the two materials properly, not every recycling plant either has the ability or desire to do it. Purely from a business standpoint, the time and effort spent on them isn't cost efficient, especially compared to dealing with regular paper. Along with resistance from the recyclers, a certain amount of heat has been levelled at the coffee companies and chains who continue to mark their cups as recyclable despite the fact that the country isn't currently capable of actually dealing with the huge volume. All this means that, apparently, just 1 in 400 coffee cups that are sent to be recycled actually are recycled- that's just a quarter of one percent.
As you might have thought yourself, this is a pretty appalling figure. Thankfully, there are people looking for solutions. Some, such as the company Veolia are going ahead and recycling them anyway despite the extra work- they can even turn them into fuel! As we hinted at the beginning, there is also a pretty simple solution that we can all turn to- buy yourself a coffee cup! Not one of those paper things, but your very own, rugged, washable, transportable, decorable- reusable- cup. This issue would be solved pretty quickly if folks went out and got one, wouldn't it?