Four ideas for dealing with coffee-cup waste

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Since last year, when we were all aware of the UK’s unrecycled cup of the mountain, some of us have found it difficult to buy take-away food and coffee, without being tormented by guilt.

In the UNITED kingdom, an estimated 2.5 billion coffee cups disposable every year. In theory, they are “recyclable”, but in practice, only a small percentage is dealt with in a sustainable way.

And yet, so far, there is no agreed way forward.

The parliament’s environmental audit committee has been hearing the latest thoughts from activists and industry on how we can improve our record in this area.

A lot of the big names in takeaway drinks, including Caffe Nero, Costa Coffee, Mcdonald’s, Pret A Manger and Starbucks, have signed up to a scheme to collect and recycle more of the current type of cups. The coast is the collection of cups from competing brands in its shops.

But others believe more fundamental rethink would have worked better.

Here are four ways to the coffee cup waste problem could be addressed.Frugalpac: ‘you Just have to change the cups’

Conventional cups can be recycled, but only in special facilities, thanks to the lamination which makes them waterproof.

Frugalpac, based in Ipswich, england, produces cups of cardboard that can be recycled in the regular recycling plants.


“We looked at this three years ago: all blame someone else, the cup makers, the coffee, the advice. We thought, why don’t you go out there and solve the problem?”, says Frugalpac founder, Martin Myerscough.

Has a patent for his cup made of recycled materials, with an only very slightly attached to the plastic covering (which represents approximately 10% of the weight of the cup) that separates easily during recycling.

This is a more pragmatic solution, according to him, to try to set up a specialist collection points to the traditional cups, because we already have recycling bins.

He made experiments with independent cafes, shops, and work with Starbucks.

Of course, consumers will have to remember to put them in the tray to the right, and is still working to replace the plastic cover.CupClub – ‘As a city of bicycles for cups

Safia Qureshi points of chai wallahs in India as one of its initial inspiration. C’, the tea is poured into glasses which are washed and re-used. We all used to drink milk and Coca Cola to lose, reusable bottles.

And then why not the coffee?

Bailey, Oscar

“The current model reusable cups is that the consumer has to buy the cup and take it in. The ratio of consumers by 2% of the total coffee sold,” he says.

Instead, it is proposed that the customer participates in the Cup Club and take a reusable cup when buying their coffee. Can be returned following one of the various collection points. Cup of the Club is responsible for the collection, cleaning and redistribution of the clean cups for the participating retailers.

Because the cups are labeled and recorded to your account through RFID, the same technology that is in an Oyster travel card – the Cup Club text is a reminder if you forgot to return a cup of charge, and if you keep it.

Cup Club

“I’m very passionate about putting an end to the products that are used only once,” says Ms Quereshi, “Is a selfish and arrogant stance.”

She is starting with the company, offices and universities, but it aims, ultimately, to a London scheme.

Its success will depend on enough dealers registration, but received an Ellen MacArthur Design Challenge award, which will be her support in the development of this idea. TrioCup – origami cup

Tom Chan, a student of engineering of Hong Kong to study in the USA, has said that he has seen the coffee cups piling up in the garbage cans outside the building that houses the university and I wanted to do something about it.

Now he has patented his TrioCup, a triangular shaped cardboard cup, to stick the flaps “as rabbit ears”. Those ears can be folded up and tucked in close.

The whole cup is recyclable, and, without the need to use a plastic lid, more convenient than the normal cups.


“I decided that if I were to make a new championship, they need to have more features eco-friendly,” he says.

So he pointed to some of the other points of sale such as spill-resistance.

“From my anecdotal research, a lot more people spill their coffee as much as you think.”

He says that you can drop a TrioCup from the height of life, and most of the coffee remains in the cup.

He thinks that the shape makes the cups easier to hold and gives them a “cool aesthetic.”

Also the origami folding technique is quite simple, ” he says.


Next month, Mr Chan, another recipient of an Ellen MacArthur award, will be several thousands of cups a week for use in the university coffee shop. Cupffee – edible cup

The final waste of the cup, however, must be this: a cup of coffee made with cereal that you can munch on like an ice cream cone, once you down your drink.


Three friends, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Miroslav Zaprjanov, Mladen Dzhalazov and Simeon Gavrilov, came up with their “waffle” recipe and does not contain preservatives, dyes or coatings to a few years ago and have been working on to market.

It seems slightly sweet and crunchy, to keep your coffee for up to 40 minutes. And if you decide not to snack on it, it will be biodegradable in a matter of a few weeks.

They say that they were inspired by a desire to change the world. So far, you might just have to change the diet of a limited number of Bulgarian coffee drinkers, but they are ambitious.

The cups have a limited life, so it’s probably not one for the big coffee chains.

But many other companies are thinking along similar lines, at least when it comes to compostable cups.

Companies such as Bristol-based Planglow are marketed with success what they say, it is completely biodegradable food packaging, including cups of coffee.

And have customers from restaurants to contract caterers, sandwich shops to the Parliament, so that politicians supposedly have to be familiar with this option.