I went to Starbucks for coffee yesterday and I was surprised to discover that their paper coffee cups are not recyclable and wont decompose for at last 30 years. The same goes for Costa and Pret a Manger. No wonder there is a call for a plastic bag-style 5p levy in cafes. I support that!

Apparently, the paper vessels are coated with an inner polyethylene skin to stop the drink making them soggy - but the plastic is so tightly bonded to the paper it is difficult to remove. So when the cups reach waste plants, the polyethylene is recognised and the disposable cup goes to landfill. Only two specialist recycling plants in the UK are able to process the cups - one in Halifax and one in Cumbria. Yet only a tiny fraction of the cups are collected by the stores and sent to these plants.

However, there is a glimmer of hope from British entrepreneur Martin Myerscough, who has created the recyclable Frugalpac cup. It has a thin plastic membrane that floats away during the recycling process - and Starbucks has agreed to run a trial.

Until the Frugalpac cup gets the 'green light' from the coffee giant, there is one saving-grace that I noticed on my visit yesterday -  Starbucks are encouraging us to take our own cups to fill up with our favourite beverage. I must remember to pack my coffee mug inside my long-life recyclable shopping bag!

But in the meantime, lend your support to a 5p charge for non-recyclable coffee cups.  


  1. Thanks a lot for sharing them. I was thinking of doing it soon, just so I can torture myself, LOL! Seriously, this is so stressful for me… I will bookmark your post for futur references. Thanks!
    Funky coffee mugs online


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