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drowning in plastic

At s.mug our mission is to say help people say no to disposable cups. We are more than a little bit obsessive about the topic. The disposable coffee cup is a symbol of our throwaway culture which has led to us drowning in plastic.


At risk of too much information in one blog post, these are just some of the facts we are thinking about on a bank holiday Monday evening while we ponder ... which facts would help people change habits. Every year we fill the Albert Hall with Coffee Cups: Most disposable paper cups are lined in 5% polyurethane plastic (1) In the UK alone we generate 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste a year - enough to fill the Albert Hall (2) - disposable cups are part of drowning in plastic

Everyday one major coffee chain sells enough cups to stretch from Lands End to John o'Groats. A large Seattle-based coffee chain launched a 5p charge on paper cups in the UK on July 26th, 2018. Thirty-seven weeks later on April 11th, 2019 they announced a £1million fund to help councils encourage cup recycling (3). If the fund came from their 5p cup charge, that means they sold at least 20-25 million cups* in 259 days or 77,000-96,000 cups per day. That is enough cups to stretch from Lands End to John o'Groats everyday.

Compostable cups can clog up recycling - These cups also need specialist collection. They can not be composted with your food waste as they compost at a different rate. If you put them in your recycling, they clog up the entire recycling system (5).


... at s.mug we believe we need to find a way to change habits. Changing habits requires education ... so what facts would you use to change habits?





Sources & References

(1) https://ecoffeecup.eco/about-us/nine-alarming-facts-about-single-use-cups/

(2) https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/657/657.pdf

(3) https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3074052/starbucks-and-hubbub-launch-gbp1m-cup-recycling-fund (3) https://ecoffeecup.eco/about-us/nine-alarming-facts-about-single-use-cups/

(4) https://www.ecosurety.com/media/671464/leeds-by-example-impact-report-may-2019.pdf (5) https://thefirstmile.co.uk/the-big-picture/the-truth-about-compostable-packaging-why-your-compostable-coffee-cup-isnt-always-the-greenest-solution

* the number of cups will depend on VAT. Either £1,000,000/5p or £1,000,000/4p = 20-25million.


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