Singe use coffee cups from coffee shops look like they should be easy to recycle but they're not. Tring in Transition has been highlighting a better alternative - the use of biodegrabable, compostable cups instead.
99.75% of coffee cups are not recycled. They're made of a paper/plastic mix that requires dedicated facilities and also dedicated systems to collect cups and ensure they actually get to these facilities. These are not effective and so the vast majority end up as land-fill or are incinerated. Reusable cups can help reduce this waste - but they need to be used between 20 and 100 times before the increased CO2 emitted in their production is offset. Tring in Transition pioneered #cups2compost and we are seeing a steady increase in their local adoption in Tring e.g. Beechwood, Espresso Lounge, College Lake Cafe, PE Mead Cafe, Bluebells Tea Room (food packaging is compostable), Baptist Church Cafe and also in Berkhamsted, St Albans and elsewhere in Dacorum.
Tring in Transition's Nigel Crawley said: ‘The main aim is to get local independent coffee shops to switch to 100% compostable takeaway cups and food packaging. Non-recyclable coffee cups are made from paper mixed with fossil-based plastics that are impossible to recycle. In comparison, the compostable cups quickly biodegrade to an environmentally benign substance (compost) at the end of use.’
Since starting the campaign just over a year ago a number of local independent coffee shops have switched to compostable cups and have been awarded #cups2compost badges.
Look out for shops displaying the postcard/badge above and give them your custom. And if you are interested in your own compostable cups try looking at local suppliers such as Matcalfes, Graces and PE Mead or online from Vegware (who supply the National Trust Cafe at Ashridge).