Tuesday 04 October 2022

Plastic Free July calls for improved reusable coffee cup economy in Australia

Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, Founder and Executive Director of the initiative: “Paper-based disposable coffee cups are commonly thought to be recyclable, but they’re usually lined with a membrane of polyethylene (plastic) that is not readily recyclable with paper or cardboard or biodegradable. Fortunately there are plenty of solutions to overcome the devastating impact of our daily disposable addiction.”

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SOUTH FREMANTLE, WA, Australia – Plastic Free July invites coffee lovers to break their addiction to disposable coffee cups by upping their coffee cup game. Despite strong interest and momentum from individuals, businesses and communities to reduce plastic consumption and increase reusables, coffee cups remain a key environmental concern.

Every year billions of takeaway coffee cups are consumed worldwide making them one of the most used single-use plastic items. The vast majority end up in landfill and many are littered and become plastic pollution.

Plastic Free July launches the Choose to Up Cup coffee cup challenge

“Paper-based disposable coffee cups are commonly thought to be recyclable, but they’re usually lined with a membrane of polyethylene (plastic) that is not readily recyclable with paper or cardboard or biodegradable. Fortunately there are plenty of solutions to overcome the devastating impact of our daily disposable addiction.” said Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, Founder and Executive Director of Plastic Free July.

In response to more people realising that single-use cups aren’t readily recycled and looking for easy ways to avoid them, Plastic Free July is launching Choose to Up Cup coffee cup challenge between 25th – 31st July. The challenge aims to help people, businesses and cafes avoid the billions of single-use coffee cups that end up in landfill and litter each year.

“By switching from the disposable cup we use for a couple of minutes to instead bringing our own cup for takeaways or choosing to dine-in, the average coffee lover can avoid 200-500 single-use cups a year!”

“It’s as easy as choosing to ‘Bring, Borrow or Stay. To up your cup game, bring your own cup from home, borrow or swap one from some cafés, or take ten minutes and stay and enjoy your favourite cuppa in-store” said Prince-Ruiz.

WWF-Australia and the Plastic Free Foundation have released a new briefing paper ‘Disposable Coffee Cups: Our Unhealthy Addiction’ to coincide with the Choose to Up Cup challenge outlining the problem and policy options to increase reuse and decrease consumption of single-use cups.

“The majority of single-use coffee cups end up as landfill or as litter on our beautiful beaches and in our oceans. Once in the environment they break up into microplastics, which cause lasting harm to wildlife and marine ecosystems,” said Kate Noble, No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager, WWF -Australia.

The sustainability project

“It’s great to see the impact Plastic Free July is having at community level, but we need more concerted action from governments and businesses to drive the reuse economy and ultimately phase out harmful, disposable products.”

It is possible to join the Choose to Up Cup coffee cup challenge taking place between 25th – 31st July and invite friends, family and colleagues to get involved too.

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