Many of us love to grab a cup of takeaway coffee on our commute to work. But contrary to popular belief, the cardboard cup that holds your morning latte is not easily recyclable. This is because it is laminated with a thin layer of plastic film that makes the cup waterproof. While this stops hot coffee seeping onto your hand, it also means that normal waste collection services cannot recycle the cups – so inevitably, they end up at landfill or maybe even in the sea. In the UK alone, a whopping 2.5 billion cups are discarded every year.
But help may be at hand from UK entrepreneur and engineer Martin Myerscough, who has created a brand new cup known as the Frugalpac. Rather than bonding plastic to the cup, he has taken a cup made from 100 per cent recycled paper and lightly glued a plastic liner to the inside. The cups can be popped into a normal paper or cardboard recycling bin, and the two parts are easily separated during the recycling process.
"We’re a packaging company that wants to create cups that truly get recycled,” says Myerscough. “At the moment only one in 400 coffee cups get recycled, even though they display the recyclable logo on them. There’s a gap between the perception and the reality.
“We’ve been talking about it for years but the coffee chains told us customers weren’t interested. Now that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has spoken out about it shows just how much the consumer doesn’t know. We’ve created a solution.”
Back in November, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall took a look at the wasteful nature of coffee cups in BBC documentary Hugh’s War On Waste. Don’t miss his follow-up episode on BBC One at 9pm on Thu 28 July.
The Frugalpac cup launched in the UK on 21 July, with Starbucks set to be the first coffee shop to trial the cup in some branches.