The Truth About Disposable Coffee Cups

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about disposable coffee cups and how much our daily caffeine habit is adding to landfill. This is the awakening we had to have and it’s a great thing that ABC’s ‘War on Waste’ has sparked this conversation about the issue at hand. There’s a fine line between offering convenience for coffee drinkers and looking after the environment and, more often than not, convenience wins over and our garbage piles grow ever taller.

So, we’re an ethical coffee company and we offer disposable cups, what gives?! Well, we have always chosen environmentally-friendly options when it comes to our take away cups, which is why we’re in partnership with the incredible BioPak organisation. We are aware that even the biodegradable options have been under fire in this discussion so we’re here this week to offer the truth about the cups we use.

Paper Cups

Did you know that there are still over 94 billion foam polystyrene coffee cups in use today? Shocking, isn’t it! While paper versions are a whole lot better than their polystyrene cousins, they still use a plastic coating which isn’t great for the environment, even if it’s biodegradable. The cups that we use are something altogether different. Instead of plastic, they use PLA bioplastic, a substance created as an earthy-friendly alternative to plastic lining in a variety of products.

PLA Bioplastic (sourced from BioPak Blog)

  • “PLA bioplastic is made from rapidly renewable resources, not oil
  • The production of PLA bioplastic emits up to 75% less CO2 than conventional plastics – this fact alone makes this material a more sustainable option than the conventional plastic it replaces
  • PLA bioplastic is commercially compostable – allowing the packaging along with any food residues to be diverted from landfill
  • Unlike regular plastic coated paper, the PLA bioplastic coating dissolves in the paper recycling process with no special equipment required.”

Recycling Issues

Although the spotlight has been placed on take away coffee cups (and rightly so) the issue is a lot bigger than this. Did you know that of 3.2 million tons of recyclable paper waste, a staggering 1.7 million tons finds its way into our tips? As a nation, Australia only recycles 45% of paper compared to 75% elsewhere. People, we have a problem. As a nation it seems that, once again, convenience wins over environmental concerns. Hopefully the tide is turning and we will become a proud nation of recyclers of everything we possibly can recycle… including paper cups! So, let’s get wise, do our research and find out exactly what products are made of and which ones can actually be returned to the earth without causing harm.

What you can do to help

The easiest way for you to help is to either drink your coffee ‘in house’ and so avoiding the need for a disposable cup. Or if you don’t have the time to dine in, to bring your own Keep Cup. Most cafes these days will even give customers a discount when you do bring your own cup.

One such cafe is the amazing About Life. All of the About Life stores give a 10c discount when you bring in your own ‘Keep Cup’ to drink your Sacred Grounds Coffee from.

To see where your closest About Life cafe and grocery is, click here… 

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