To a lot of people, a trip to Costa or Starbucks for their morning latte on the way to work is a guilty pleasure. Stand in the queue, order your drink, pay for it and in some cases then wait to see if the staff spelt your name right on the cup that day (they never spell mine right!). But have you ever stopped to wonder if the cup that you’re using is environmentally friendly?
Helping the environment one latte at a time
Do you put your cup in a recycle bin or do you casually chuck it into the nearest bin when you’re in a rush to get to the office? Perhaps you’re one of the awesome ones that take their own cup into the coffee shop and ask for it to be filled? Or did you know that you could be using one of the shops own reusable cups and maybe even receive an incentive from them for doing so?
When McDonald’s introduced their recycling scheme, I was very impressed. Yes, it’s more of a faff to separate everything instead of chucking it all in the bin, but it’s worth it, for what we are giving back to the environment by doing so.
Cup recycling explained
Glasdon UK has produced a fantastic e-book that explains all about the difference between different types of recyclable cups available. I didn’t realise that you aren’t supposed to put the takeaway cups from coffee shops in with the normal recycling, did you? The waste liquid and residue in the cup contaminates any other paper that may be in there. Once the cups have been mixed up with other recyclable and non-recyclable waste streams, they are really difficult for the processors to isolate and are often too damaged to recover. So, the best way to avoid this is to recycle them on their own – which is why more and more shops have systems in place to do this.
More and more coffee shops are introducing the re-usable takeaway coffee cup. For example, Costa has launched a recycling scheme throughout all of their stores with an aim to be recycling 500 million disposable cups a year by 2020. You can take a disposable paper cup of any size back into their stores and they will take care of the rest. It’s no real hardship is it really? You would have only put it in a bin anyway.
A lot of big chains are also offering discounts and other reward cards with stamps when you use a reusable cup. It’s a win, win – you get more free coffee!
If we are honest, most of us don’t know the ins and the outs of a complex recycling system like this, which is why it’s important for coffee shops and takeaway restaurants to put these procedures into place so that it encourages us to do the right thing.
Do your bit
Before reading the ebook, I wasn’t very clued up on it at all. But it’s really made me think. Next time you are ordering your favourite caffeine fix, think about the cup that you are being handed – even ask them if it can be recycled. Ask them what they are doing as a business to help the environment. And do what you can to do your bit too. It will make your coffee taste a whole lot nicer when you know you are doing some good.
For more information, you can read the Glasdon UK eBook here.
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