I have a pretty hardcore to-go coffee habit. Every time I buy coffee in a disposable paper cup (which is often), part of me cringes inside at the thought of it filling up a landfill. Obviously, this doesn’t stop me from buying it, which is part of why I’m telling you — to publicly guilt myself into bringing a reusable mug to Starbucks! The scary part is that there are thousands of people who feel the same way, and keep buying coffee anyway just like me. Fifty billion paper coffee cups end up in landfills every year, and that’s just in the U.S.!
Most paper coffee cups are made from a combination of cardboard and very thin plastic to keep the drinks warm and prevent sogginess. Unfortunately, this also deems them not recyclable because the two materials are impossible to separate — a fact many coffee drinkers don’t realize. Shouldn’t we have a more eco-friendly solution for something that’s consumed by so many people every morning?
Enter Green Your Cup, an alternative creation by British inventor named Martin Myerscough. His method makes the cup solely out of cardboard. The plastic liner isn’t added until the end of the process, which makes it possible for recycling plants to separate the two materials and do a little Earth-saving! Tiny changes like this can make a huge difference for conservation.
According to Myerscough, the cups won’t look any different to customers. If this transition is so seemingly simple, it makes me wonder why something like this hasn’t been implemented in major coffee chains yet! But that’s Green Your Cup’s next major goal: he company is in talks with major coffee companies and the manufacturers who make the original cups. They could maybe even have the eco-friendlier cups in place by next year. Cross your fingers – and break out those reusable mugs!
[Image of landfill via Shutterstock]