Look in a public rubbish bin on the street and it will most likely be full of coffee cups, plastic bottles and take-away food containers. Some of this could be recycled if there was such a facility in public places, but landfill is the only option for the plastic-coated paper coffee cups.
We have noticed in the last year a growing realisation that disposable coffee cups can not be recycled. I was putting coffee cups in our household recycling bin until early 2009 because I did not realise. The takeaway coffee businesses do need to better inform their customers that the cups can not be put into recycling.
Any local Council serious about reducing the amount of waste going to landfill must also address takeaway coffee cups. As with disposable plastic water bottles and plastic bags, there seems to be only four choices:
- a ban,
- a tax or levy on the price of the item,
- a container deposit type system (so that the seller has the responsibility for recycling), or
- public education by coffee businesses and government to encourage people to bring their own reusable cup.