So what’s the story with our daily cup of tea/coffee and our desire to help the planet recover from our consumption? Are reusable cups saving the Planet?
A reusable cup manufacturer KeepCup have recently shared a number of facts which can really help us assess the contribution we are making. In this article which is shared by www.beanscenemag.com the Keep Cup Founder and Managing Director, Abigail Forsyth answers many of the questions we would want to ask.
So are reusable cups all they are cracked up to be? Let’s find out!
Can compostable cups be thrown into your home compost?
The answer is that most compostable cups require commercial collection systems and these are few and far between.
If cups end up in landfill anyway, is it better to use a compostable than another single-use cup?
The answer is that across their life cycle, compostable cups have worse carbon emissions than other single-use cups. KeepCup carried out a peer reviewed Life Cycle Analysis, which compared KeepCups with two single-use cups – compostable and standard paperboard – and two other reusable cups – bamboo and polypropylene. KeepCup says the compostable cups were found to have the highest emissions of all cups analysed.
Do littered, compostable cups have less impact than other single-use cups?
“Littered compostables pose just as much of a threat to marine environments as their non compostable counterparts,” Abigail says. “There is growing concern that compostable packaging may even increase the likelihood of littering, as users throw it away assuming it will compost anywhere.”
Most single-use coffee cups can’t be recycled, be they compostable or otherwise. When placed in recycling bins, single-use cups contaminate the waste stream, requiring more resources to sort and remove them or resulting in the entire collection being sent to landfill
“The state of global recycling is in crisis. By comparison there is negligible infrastructure to support composting. If we do expand composting infrastructure to benefit soil and food production, our focus must be on composting organic material that is beneficial to farmers. Compost filled with PLA and cardboard are not a solution and of little benefit to useful compost,” Abigail says.
In a statement reported in BioMarket Insights, University of Sheffield packaging consultant Sarah Greenwood says, “there is a perception with compostable packaging that it turns into compost, but it does not. It turns into carbon dioxide, water or methane with a tiny amount of biomass left behind.”
So in the light of all of this do compostable cups help bring about behaviour change in relation to our consumption?
“Compostable cups promote single-use. They do nothing to drive behaviour change. Single-use is single-use no matter what the material. One use just doesn’t justify the water, energy and materials required to create, and dispose of, packaging,” Abigail says.
“The consumption crisis won’t be solved by switching materials. It will only be solved by changing behaviour, systems and methods of delivery.” ~ Abigail Forsyth, Founder and Managing Director at KeepCup.
About our NEP Justice Day 2019 ~ still taking bookings!
There is still time to book for our Province Justice Day on 26th November 2019 with exhibitions from community projects and an exchange of ideas about promoting bio-diversity, reducing single use plastics, cutting down on unnecessary purchases of products we don’t need, as well as exploring alternatives for cleaning products with the aim of being kinder to the earth in our day to day lives and in our professional capacity.