Growing up I do not remember my parents needing to drink out of a sippy cup, but somehow since becoming an adult the sippy cup aka take away cup craze has taken off. Apparently we have become so busy and clumsy that we need to rush around with our beverages. Now I am not saying I have never used a take away cup or cannot see a purpose for them, but not disposable.
Devastatingly, the rate at which humans are consuming beverages in take away disposable cups is becoming so great, the planet cannot sustain it. Many people think that the cups are recyclable, compostable or biodegradable, however this is not the case and the cups and lids end up in land fill, waterways or just scattered through our streets, parks, reserves and natural environment.
2.25 billion takeaway coffee cups are consumed around the world each day and it is estimated that every year 500 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill whether they say they are recyclable, compostable or biodegradable. These labels are misleading and the reality of the labels is this.
RECYCLABLE: Takeaway cups cannot be recycled, as they are lined with polyethylene, or PE (a plastic material). The lids can be recycled in some places, but NOT everywhere.
COMPOSTABLE: These cups need industrial style composting systems to be compostable, high temperatures or UV light. However, they are often just sent to landfills and if the lids are compostable, they cannot be recycled.
BIODEGRADABLE: There are mixed reviews about ‘biodegradable’. These cups are made from plant based materials, but also need special conditions to break down. They cannot be recycled and so will sit in the environment for a long time.
Not only is the process of disposing a massive strain on the environment, the process of making the cups for single use using resources, such as water, plants, oil and coal, creating carbon emissions.
Ultimately, the best option is to use you own cup or just sit down and savour your hot beverage. Don’t rush around drinking the beverage that was meant to be enjoyed slowly.