At war with disposable coffee cups

Calling the youth of today. I hope that you have been relinquishing the smash avocado toast to put it towards saving for a house. But if you are still needing that coffee boost (surely it is basically part of our DNA – Melbourne … looking at you) make a change to our caffeine culture. Shift the behavior and avoid using paper cups. Simple as that.

There is so much waste produced by disposable cups, estimated to be the second-largest contributor after plastic bottles. They are coated with polyethylene, the most produced plastic in the world, to prevent leakage and not actually recyclable as we might assume. As a result, it is estimated that Australians use 1 billion disposable cups per year.

In 2016, a report by the World Economic Forum found that we produce 20 times more plastic than we did in 1964, which is expected to quadruple by 2050. By which time our oceans could contain more plastics than fish.

Instead of using a disposable coffee cup, using your own will lead to a

  • 47% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • 85% reduction in water use
  • 92% reduction in landfill.

So we need to improve the way that we design the coffee culture and re-use. University of Melbourne’s preferred choice of reusable coffee cups is KeepCup.

  • Designed and manufactured in Australia so are supporting local industry and have lower carbon miles.
  • Made from recyclable plastic and also meet OHS requirements for those who make the coffee.
  • Take less energy to produce, light weight and durable so can be easily carried around with you.

It’s not entirely convenient to be towing a cup around, but keep one at work if you have the regular morning coffee session or if there is a bag that goes where you go, then add it in there as well.

Find and inspire a Responsible Cafe, which connects you to cafes that offer discounts to customers who bring their own cup.

Think of the fish! They are counting on us, so BYO coffee cup.

Take a look at ABC’s War on Waste Stories Series 1 Ep 3: Coffee Cup Waster in Melbourne City Bins.