According to the UN, the era of global warming is over, and the age of global boiling has begun. The urgency of the environmental crisis has increased, and businesses and consumers are increasingly aware of the need for immediate action.
The repercussions of our choices are no longer something for future generations to worry about. This is a challenge that we need to rise to immediately. Every disposable item, especially the ubiquitous coffee cup, contributes to this escalating challenge.
But what if our morning brew could blend pleasure with responsibility? Enter the sustainable revolution of the coffee industry.
When we think of traditional disposable cups, the term “disposable” should be taken with a pinch of salt. The problem is that the blend of plastic and paper makes these cups an environmental nightmare.
Traditional cups can’t be disposed of in either paper or plastic recycling bins. Instead, they need to be recycled in specialist facilities in a process that is energy hungry and expensive.
The result, according to a BBC article, is that 99.75% of disposable coffee cups are not recycled. This is a staggering figure that means for every thousand cups that leave a coffee shop, only 25 will be recycled. This figure takes on more relevance when you consider that each year, 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away – in the UK alone.
One potential solution is to switch to more environmentally friendly PLA-coated compostable cups. However, while there are environmental benefits to this, it is far from being a perfect solution.
PLA, or Polylactic Acid to give it its Sunday name, is a type of plastic that uses plant-based materials in its construction. While PLA-coated cups are indeed compostable, the need for specialist facilities is again a requirement. Throwing one of these in a home compost bin is a pointless exercise. PLA cups require commercial composting at high temperatures. Additionally, they also have the same recycling issues as plastic-coated cups do.
So, is there a solution to the disposable coffee cup problem? Is there a bean-to-bin solution that allows for a guilt-free coffee?
The answer is good news for coffee shop proprietors and consumers who love their caffeine shot on the go.
At the root of the disposable coffee cup problem is the plastic used in their construction. This is necessary to ensure the cup is liquid-proof, as well as acting as an insulator. Take the plastic out of the equation, and what you get is a cup that is useful as a chocolate fireguard.
However, replace the plastic with a water-based coating that has the same sealing and thermal properties, and suddenly the game is changed:
- Compostable: Can be disposed of in any home composting bin, reducing landfill waste.
- Eco-friendly: Made with water-based coatings, eliminating the need for harmful plastics and reducing carbon footprint.
- Safe for Consumption: Free from toxic chemicals often found in plastic coatings, ensuring a healthier coffee experience.
- Thermal Insulation: Provides similar heat retention as traditional plastic-lined cups, keeping beverages warm for longer.
- Durable: Resistant to leaks and tears, ensuring a mess-free coffee experience.
- Supports Sustainable Practices: Aligns with eco-conscious brands and businesses aiming to reduce their environmental impact.
- Recyclable: Can be thrown into paper recycling bins, simplifying waste disposal and promoting a circular economy.
With 200 million disposable cups discarded each year in Ireland, a simple switch to aqueous-coated plastic cups can make a significant difference to our environment.
These cups not only address the immediate waste problem but also pave the way for a more sustainable future. By choosing aqueous-coated cups, businesses can showcase their commitment to eco-friendly practices, while consumers can enjoy their daily brew with a clear conscience.
Sustainability works best when it brings other benefits to the table. For businesses, switching to sustainable options is both a necessity and an opportunity. Aqueous-coated cups present a fantastic way of grasping this opportunity and bring with them a host of benefits that include:
- Enhanced Brand Image: Adopting sustainable practices boosts brand reputation, appealing to eco-conscious consumers.
- Cost Savings: Over time, reduced waste management costs and potential tax incentives for eco-friendly practices can lead to financial benefits.
- Customer Loyalty: Consumers are more likely to return to businesses that align with their values, fostering long-term loyalty.
- Competitive Advantage: Offering sustainable products can differentiate a business from competitors in an increasingly green market.
- Regulatory Compliance: Staying ahead of potential environmental regulations ensures businesses won’t face future compliance issues.
- Employee Morale: Employees take pride in working for companies that prioritize sustainability, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity.
These benefits mean that making the switch to plastic-free disposable coffee cups like Think Greener’s range is a definite win-win situation for any business.
Changing to compostable coffee cups is not going to save the planet on its own – but it will make a significant difference. The sheer wastage of traditional disposable cups is simply unsustainable, with an estimated 500 billion tossed away globally each year.
At Think Greener, we are committed to leading the charge towards a more sustainable future. Every cup, every choice, and every consumer can play a part in this global shift. Together, let’s brew a brighter, greener tomorrow.