Paper cups are being recycled

Ultimately, reusable coffee cups and dine-in cups are the best way to reduce paper cups in landfill, but it’s not always the practical choice for a cuppa on the go.

Did you know that many Australian councils are recycling paper cups? There is much confusion and many questions regarding this topic and we’d like to help set the record straight. The lack of clarity seems to stem from certain recycling facilities claiming they are unable to process paper cups on their equipment. However, these facilities accept milk cartons and juice cartons which are made from the very same materials as paper cups – that is, paper with a thin layer of plastic lining (poly-coating) to make it waterproof. Milk and juice cartons are accepted in co-mingled domestic and recycling almost everywhere. So why not paper cups?

This has been a battle that environmental packaging gurus, BioPak, have been fighting since their inception 11 years ago. They have made some good headway but there is a long road ahead. BioPak’s PLA-lined paper hot cups differ to poly-coated cups and are currently the best eco-friendly option on the market. They are not only made from sustainably-sourced paper with a plant-based waterproof lining (PLA), they are also compostable in a commercial compost facility.

According to BioPak, the only proven technical and commercially viable long-term solution, not only for paper cups but all single use food service disposables, is to produce them in a way that aligns with and supports the emerging circular economy – that is the model of take, make, dispose. To manufacture products from sustainably sourced, abundant, rapidly renewable, non-toxic materials that return nutrients back into the cycle after disposal. You can view their paper hot cup range on our website, click here.

12,000 tons of coffee cups end up in Australian landfills every year, taking over 50 years to decompose. Raising awareness that this resource is recyclable will help to reduce that figure. Contact your local council to find out whether they recycle paper cups.

For a list of Australian councils that accept paper cups for recycling, click here:

Quick facts:

  • 12,000 tons of coffee cups in Australian landfills each year
  • Many Australian councils are recycling paper cups
  • Coffee cups are made from the same materials as milk cartons

Further reading on this topic:

BioPak: The war on waste should be the battle to recycle
Planet Ark News: What’s the deal with paper cup recycling?
Broadsheet: Coffee Cups – Recyclable Or Not? (We Have Some Good News)
Byron Shire Council: Yes! We do recycle single use coffee cups
The West Australian: City puts lid on cup recycling confusion