Paper and card can be low impact materials, but must be sourced from sustainably managed forests or recycled fibres. The processes can also involve large quantities of water, bleach, dye and other chemicals. Paper and card are easily recycled in most countries but can only be recycled a limited number of times before requiring substitution by virgin materials.
Coffee Cup Reuse
What’s the issue?
Globally it is estimated that 500 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill or incineration every year. That’s one million cups a minute, every hour of every day of every year. These cups are virtually impossible to recycle due to the combination of plastic and paper in their design, and in Ireland we estimate that we dispose of over 200 million of these non-recyclable cups annually.
Ireland wastes 22,000 coffee cups per hour
Upcycling cardboard into furniture – EcoStep Design Competition entry
WHY CAN’T YOU RECYCLE DISPOSABLE COFFEE CUPS?
People have been confused about disposable coffee cups for a long time. Many of us think ‘paper cups are made of paper, paper is recyclable, and therefore I can recycle paper cups.’
But, this is rarely the case: almost all paper cups have a plastic lining that renders them virtually UNRECYCLABLE.
The lining found on the inside of paper cups is made of polyethylene, and it’s used to waterproof the cup, while protecting its integrity at hot and cold temperatures.