Coffee cups aren't recyclable?!

Yes, you read it right. Those single use takeaway cups that you bought from your favourite cafe are not 100% recyclable. Even if you place them into the recycling bin. So why do they constantly encourage you to recycle them anyway?

Not 100% recyclable

The reason why these takeaway paper cups are not recyclable is that they are not made of 100% paper - they are actually coated with plastic or wax from as little as 1% to 5% per cup. By doing so, it allows the cup to hold the liquid content without turning soggy and leaking the coffee all over your hands.

Although some communities, cafes and coffee shops do provide 100% recyclable paper cups for takeaways, they are becoming rarer and will only become much more as it is more costly to provide 100% recyclable paper cups as compared to those coated with plastic or wax.

As a consumer

So what can you do as a consumer if you want to do a part in creating a more sustainable planet Earth?

  • Take a seat

Have your coffee “dined-in” rather than taken away. Most cafes and coffee shops serve their coffee in a ceramic cup rather than a plastic one when you choose to have it in their shop.

  • Get rid of the straw and lid

If you really can’t afford the luxury of having your coffee in the shop, request for the barista not to place a lid, straw or any additional plastic waste to your order. By doing so, you’re still helping to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste.

Instead of using takeaway paper cups, politely request the barista to place the coffee into your own tumbler instead. One plus point is you can show off your creative and personal tumbler in the office unlike a paper cup like everybody else.

With everyone doing their part, we can all create a more sustainable place to live in.


We are almighty.