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The Cost of Coffee Cups

There is a buzz that's getting louder in the eyes of environmentalists, specifically in the realm of the coffee industry and it's effect on trash waste. Our human race consumes an insane amount of coffee but isn't exactly thinking or doing what is needed to curb the output we crate from using disposable cups. In London and Scotland, lobbyists are attempting to put a tax or even ban single use cups. The London Assembly did a study that shows at least eight million tons of plastics are discarded into the world’s oceans – equivalent to the contents of a trash truck every minute. And that's just plastics. Furthermore, a recent study found that many fish in the river Thames have ingested plastic fibers, as much as 75 percent of one species. And that's just one river.
We here in Philly know that recycling has been a recent major concern for our city and certainly continuous world wide. The US as a whole recycles about 87 million tons of waste each year. Regarding cups thrown in the trash specifically:
  • 500 billion plastic cups per year
  • 16 billion disposable coffee cups per year. 
  • The UK uses seven million disposable coffee cups every day – that’s 2.5 billion every year – and very few are recycled. In perspective, the UK is about 57% the size of California.
  • Dunkin Donuts coffee estimates about 1 billion of their cups are thrown into the regular trash each year.
  • Americans alone dispose of about 25 billion styrofoam cups every year.

The research is stifling, and not just to humans but for our ecosystem.

There are a few major players in the coffee industry who are working to establish standards on cups that are compostable and recyclable. The challenge is that once in a consumer's hand, it needs to get into that recycling container. One really easy no-brainer is to use a travel cup for your iced or hot beverages. If you are the type to forget to bring it or wash it before you are running out the door, then the responsibility is on you to properly dispose your disposables IF it's recyclable. One read of the information above should hopefully be enough to trigger the response to reduce by reusing, or at the very least recycle, that cup. Our world depends on it. Did you know we sell travel mugs?!
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