Australia and Vancouver, Canada first spotted the problem, and they are already trying to find ways to restrict their use. Even though single-use coffee cups seem to be made of paper, they usually contain a plastic lining, making them in most cases unsuitable for recycling. As a consequence, almost 90% of disposable coffee cups end up in landfills. But there, of course, they do not biodegrade.
And that is the best-case scenario. What about the coffee cups which end up in the environment? The plastic will stick around for a really long time and may even end up in the oceans, where plastic is already the world’s biggest global pollution problem!
On the other hand, recyclable cups exist, but it’s a matter of price for café owners to use them widely.
Vancouver is officially trying to come up with regulations to address the ‘distribution, use and recycling of commonly disposed items designed for single-use’.
Ban of use, mandatory recycling, take-back programs are just some thoughts. It is more than obvious that action should be taken, and sooner or later more countries will look into this problem.
In the meantime, the easiest thing would be to reduce their distribution at sale points (according to the principle Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), so next time bring your own reusable cup to take away. It’s as simple as that!