Can paper cups be composted?
If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of using paper cups at work, you may be wondering if they can be recycled and composted. This is a common question that people ask themselves when they’re looking for ways to save money and reduce their impact on the environment. But you don’t have to be discouraged. By following a few simple steps, you can turn those discarded coffee cups into something new.
Recycled paper cups
Recycling paper cups is an easy and effective way to eliminate paper waste. It is also a relatively inexpensive way to achieve Zero Waste. Paper waste recycling is a well-established process, with many paper waste collectors and recycling facilities in place.
However, the question of whether paper cups can be recycled is not answered easily. This is because paper cups are typically lined with plastic or wax. The plastic coating is considered a contaminant.
In order to be properly recycled, a biodegradable disposable paper cup must be manufactured from virgin fibre. These paper products are designed to hold liquids without leaking or falling apart.
The problem with these disposable products is that they aggressively harm the environment. They also take up space in landfills. As a result, the majority of disposable products will never be fully recycled.
Some companies have produced biodegradable single use hot cups. However, they are not yet available for composting.
Bio-plastic coffee cups
Bio-plastic coffee cups are made from natural materials that are meant to biodegrade at a rate equivalent to newspaper. They are made using a process called wet milling.
Many cups are coated with polylactic acid (PLA), a plant-based bioplastic. However, not all cups will be able to break down in home composting environments. Some will need to be placed in a special composting facility.
The most efficient way to end the life of a cup is through recycling. In some countries, single-use plastics have been banned. This means that no cup should go into landfill. But some people have to be educated on how to dispose of their cups.
The NextGen Cup Challenge was held in 2018. Starbucks, McDonald’s, and IDEO, the design-thinking firm, participated. These companies worked with Closed Loop Partners to find a solution to the problem of single-use plastic cups.
A company in Thailand, PTT MCC Biochem, has developed a new plastic bio-PBS. It is a biodegradable, flexible polymer that can be recycled. Unlike conventional plastics, it has good heat resistance and it bonds well with paper.
Upcycle them into something new
While many municipalities recommend throwing Paper Eco-friendly paper cups in the garbage, there are still opportunities to upcycle them into something new. There are a number of things you can do with coffee cans, Tupperware, and other items you can find in your home.
You can use your soda cans to make a decorative lantern or turn them into a planter. A recycled mason jar can make a great storage container. Old coffee pots can be made into terrariums or fish tanks. Other uses include small planters and even keychains.
One of the biggest reasons that upcycling is so important is because it repurposes materials that would otherwise end up in the trash. This is especially true for plastic-based items, which are non-biodegradable.
Upcycling also helps decrease the amount of natural resources used in production. By repurposing things you already have, you can create a larger profit margin. For instance, you can use a Tupperware container to store your natural cleaners.
Dispose of them in your green waste bins
Every year, 6 billion paper cups are thrown away in the United States. Fortunately, there are ways to recycle the cups. Although it’s important to note that plastic cups are easier to recycle than paper cups. They are generally made of one material, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and are less environmentally harmful. This means that they are more commonly accepted in curbside recycling programs. But, many cities also allow you to dispose of paper cups with food waste.
For example, you can bring biodegradable paper cup to the store with food scraps, and put them in your green waste bin. If you don’t know where your city recycles, check with local officials. Some of them accept #1-7 plastics. You should also ask if the city offers a composting program. Wax-coated paper cups, however, can’t be recycled. Similarly, Styrofoam cups can’t be recycled. Despite this, many coffee shops still offer paper cup recycling.
It’s a good idea to double bag your food waste and paper cups. Place your waste in a sturdy, tied bag, and make sure it’s ready to go when you drop it off at the curb. Alternatively, you can use a commercial composting bin.