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Frugalpac coffee cup: the new weapon in the war on waste © Frugalpac

Frugalpac coffee cup: the new weapon in the war on waste

Published: 27th July, 2016 at 14:00
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Starbucks set to be the first retailer to stock up on eco-friendly cups, hoping to ease the mountain of recyclable waste that ends up in landfill.

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.

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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.”


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Authors

Alice Lipscombe-SouthwellManaging editor, BBC Science Focus

Alice is the managing editor at BBC Science Focus Magazine. She has a BSc in zoology with marine zoology. Her interests include natural history, wildlife, the outdoors, health and fitness.

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