Disposable coffee cup debate rages in Australia

A number of cafés in major Australian cities have stopped offering their customers disposable coffee cups after a TV series explored the impact these cups are having on the environment. War on Waste, which was aired on Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, in May, revealed that 50,0000 coffee cups are sent to landfill every half hour in Australia because many of them are not recyclable. The TV series has since sparked a national debate about the use of disposable, singe-use implements such as take-away cups. Some cafés in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra have banned the cups, while take-away cup manufacturers are scrambling to address the issue. On manufacturer, BioPak, says its BioCups are “definitely recyclable” because unlike regular plastic-coated paper, its polylactide acid (PLA) bioplastic coating is made from renewable resources that dissolve in the paper repulping process. Another manufacturer, Detpak, has teamed up US company Smart Planet Technologies to develop a fully recyclable cup. And while the debate rages, Australian company KeepCup, which is responsible for the development of one of the leading reusable coffee cups, is reaping the rewards as more and more regular coffee drinkers begin to carry their own cup. The debate in Australia is reflective of the situation in markets such as the UK, where initiatives such as a surcharge on take-away cups has been mooted, and Germany where a reusable cup scheme is being trialled by a group of cafés in Berlin.   To read more about how this issue is unfolding in Australia, visit Bean Scene:

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