The future seems bright for the coffee industry! As millions of people embrace coffee, the coffee cup evolves. Besides, revenues are swelling. Today, we have a recyclable paper cup. Meanwhile, the coffee segment racked up US$448,382m in earnings as of 2020.

The coffee industry can only expect happier days ahead! Statista reports an expected CAGR growth of 5.5% for the next five years in the coffee industry. A sustainable coffee cup can assure more stability. It’s also a confirmation of a safer operating environment.

Sustainable coffee cups seem to be the key for coffee vendors to operate in peace. More positive limelight allows the green business to flourish under a positive image. There’s also more room to concentrate on the positive tasks of the company.

Why Only 10% of Coffee Cups Get Recycled

Landfill sites
Waste landfill sites

Coffee cups are famous not for their functional role but for soiling the environment. As coffee lovers increase every year, there’s more worry coffee cup waste will spiral.

Some efforts to reduce coffee cup waste, focus on the coffee cup only and not the entire industry. Shifting the limelight to the whole segment could be better for the environment.

In 2018, the BBC highlighted the reasons 99% of coffee cups don’t get recycled. The shortage of recycling plants stood out as the primary reason coffee cup waste was on the rise.

Back then, leading coffee sellers were already recycling coffee cups. Coffee giants such as Starbucks and Costa were collecting coffee cups in-house. Customers that returned their coffee cups to the stores were sure of recycling.

Ace UK had over 415 collection points for paper packages. Coffee cups deposited with the company were 100% recycled. Meanwhile, coffee cups disposed of at household bins, or street bins end in landfills.

The point is coffee cups are not 100% to blame for increasing waste. Many municipals lacked proper waste disposal practices. The wanting recycling plants is another cause for the landfills eyesore. Even most coffee vendors and customers aren’t keen on responsible disposal of waste.

Coffee Cup Insulation Can Limit Recycling

All the recycling excuses aside. The coffee cup itself and the handling can limit recycling rates.

Used coffee cups can be challenging to clean. The grime or the sticky coffee dirt can contaminate other materials in a recycling plant. Besides, plastic-coated containers are difficult to segregate, and that slows recycling.

Polyethelene (PE) coated coffee cups comprise paper as the primary raw material. For heat insulation, the PE material gets tight bonded to the paper cup. This is a useful procedure to ensure the coffee cup is leak proof.

It takes special recycling plants to ensure recycling of the PE coffee cups. In ordinary plants, they set aside contaminated PE cups for incineration. Sometimes, the contamination pushes some recyclers to discard the coffee cup into landfills.

The Dominating Aspect of the New Recyclable Paper Cup

Biodegradable PLA Paper
Raw Recyclable Material

The modern recyclable coffee cup takes into account the recycling challenges. Instead of the PE coating, it boasts of plant-based insulation.

Is the plant-based coating any better for recycling? Yes! The plant-based material provides an option that’s easier to recycle, unlike polyethene.

Given the common waste disposal challenges, plant-based coffee cups are a better option. Incase, the plant-based coffee cup mixes with other trash, there’s no need to worry.

Soil microbes can eat the coffee cup along with the other compostable waste. In this case, the coffee goes to industrial composting facilities for degradation.

Uprising Recycling Technology Essential for Higher Coffee Cup Recycling Rates

Innovation is always a sure bet whenever an issue seems to stress the business world. It’s no different in the paper cup industry. There has been a ton of advancements around coffee cups to optimize resources.

The coffee cup has seen drastic improvements to its new shape. Hundreds of recycling schemes have also cropped up to offer advanced recycling infrastructure.

Most businesses can now access modern recycling bins, collection points and recycling providers. Veolia, a paper cup recycler offers advanced recycling bins to ease disposal.

Recycling our waste
compositble, recyclable paper cups

Recycling is the Best Way Foward For the Environment

As landfills swell with waste, recycling and composting remain as the safest ways to get rid of the trash. Recycling helps to reduce waste and also increases the usefulness of resources.

By recycling, coffee cups can serve the economy in many ways. Coffee cups comprise paper and corn starch materials. Both of these components can recycle to produce other homecare products.

Recycled paper can make lampshades, animal beddings, egg cartons, dusk masks, and so on. Paper waste can also recycle into fuel through combustion technologies. As an organic material, paper waste has a significant energy value for the production of fuel.

Corn starch insulation is a massive step to conserve the environment. Given the material comes from renewable sources, fossil reserves may be safe at last. High availability of corn starch guarantees consistent production. This helps to reduce pressure on fossil fuels.

Recycling seems to be the best way to get rid of the PLA (cornstarch )coffee cups. Recycling PLA is 50 times better for the environment than composting. Meanwhile, combusting PLA has 16 times worse negative environmental impact than recycling it.

Recyclable Paper Cups for the Conservation of Resources

Recycled coffee cups protect natural resources by serving as a raw material. The products that come out of a coffee cup save trees, fossil reserves, energy, and cost. Instead of using virgin resources, coffee cups fill in as a cheaper alternative.

In manufacturing, recycled materials consume lesser energy than virgin ones. In the long run, more products borne from recycled materials are more energy-efficient. The lessened carbon emissions and the saved natural resources help reduce global warming.

Recyclable Paper Cups for 100% Recycling Rates

Plant-based coffee cups are 100% recyclable. Given the expanding recycling systems, its more comfortable than ever to recycle paper cups.

More companies embrace recycling. They have thus created enough room for coffee sellers to ensure 100% recycling.

Collaboration between coffee vendors and recyclers is vital for higher recycling rates. If all businesses link up with recycling provider, coffee cup waste will be no more.


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