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CVC winning ‘war on waste’ coffee cups

Botero offers a 20 cent discount if you BYO cup. Image: Contributed.
“Did you know [takeaway] coffee cups can’t be recycled in Australia?” was the premise for an episode of ABC TV’s recently screened three-episode show, War ON Waste – but Clarence Valley Council (CVC) disagrees. The show’s host Craig Reucassel told viewers that the majority of takeaway coffee cups have a polythene liner to prevent moisture reaching the cardboard and said that a billion cups (92 percent) go to landfill in Australia each year. In its July 1 edition of its weekly full page advertisement (not published in the Independent), CVC said it could in fact recycle the cups. “Residents can continue to use the yellow recycling bins for their takeaway coffee cups and lids unless they have made the switch to taking their own reusable cup.” The council’s sustainable service coordinator, Ken Wilson, said, while recycling the cups was “a problematic area in some regards …, advice from our recycling contractor and the advice we’ve seen from the industry is that, generally, coffee cups are recyclable”. “There are different manufacturing processes of coffee cups: some are biodegradable, some aren’t, some are normal cardboard with plastic cups; but they’ve pretty well all got a fill lining which is one of the problematic areas,” he said. “But the difficulty with the plastic fill lining is processed out during the recycling process.” Mr Wilson said there was no need to separate the lids from the cups – all could be thrown into a home or on-street recycle bin. He said there had not been any obviously noticeable changes in how people were disposing of their cups since the screening of the coffee cup episode; however, he said there had not been any research to measure any change. “I think the success of that program probably would have got people to do some of that,” he said. “Our message, of course, is that the best thing to do is have a reusable coffee cup. “That is our preferred option.” Meanwhile, a July 6 story, ABC’s War on Waste creates unprecedented demand for sustainable coffee cups, on Planet Ark’s website, says that “KeepCup, the sustainable coffee cup company, has seen unprecedented demand for its products” since the program was aired on June 3. “The rise is unprecedented for KeepCup – sales enquiries have risen by 690 per cent, sales by over 400 per cent and web traffic by 205 per cent,” KeepCup co-founder and managing director Abigail Forsyth says. Clarence Valley Council pointed out that “many of our Clarence cafes offer a discount if you take your own reusable cup”. “Check out for a list of responsible local cafes offering up to $1 off your next takeaway coffee.”