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Ditch the Disposable

Anna Ellam

travel mug.jpg

Did you know that as a nation we use an estimated 7 million disposable coffee cups every day?  That’s 7million cups that are thrown away on a daily basis!  A huge number and one that has far reaching implications when we consider that these cups are not actually recyclable. 

So, what’s the answer?  One of the most effective and easiest ways to help combat this problem is to use a refillable cup and here at Central we’re ready to help!  Our new environmentally friendly travel mugs are the perfect solution, helping coffee lovers and tea drinkers to do their little bit to help tackle the ever growing problem of plastic waste; something that was brought to the nation’s attention in the fantastic Blue Planet II, which showed heartbreaking scenes of plastic choking our ocean wildlife. 

Plastic pollution in our oceans

More often than not plastic waste finds it’s way into our oceans, not only harming the creatures who live there, but also creating huge swathes of floating pollution, which are seemingly impossible to tackle.

Awareness in relation to the issues of general plastic waste has grown in recent years with steps being taken to address the problem.  The plastic bag charge is proving successful and ideas are being proposed for a deposit scheme for plastic bottles.  Most recently, the Government has outlined plans to ban plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.

The problem with disposable cups

As a nation we are generally quite good at recycling and hopefully we all do our best to sort our waste at home.  However, there is a specific problem in relation to disposable coffee cups.  More and more of us are now aware of it thanks to recent news coverage and programmes such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall’s Wake up & Smell the Waste programme, but for a long time most of us thought these cardboard coffee cups were recyclable. 

But we were wrong.  The problem lies with the plastic polyethylene lining.  It can’t be recycled.  It needs to be removed which requires specialist facilities of which there are only three in the UK.

However, solutions are being proposed.  Calls have been made for a 25p ‘latte levy’ on disposable cups; many of the leading coffee shop outlets offer discounts to people using refillable cups (here’s where the Central Travel Mug comes in!) and people such as the MD of Costa Coffee talking of supplements for the waste collection firms. 

On the international agenda

Plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade.  It breaks down very gradually and can result in microplastics (something we have talked about in one of our previous blogs) which again gets into the water supply, can be digested by wildlife and potentially back into the food chain. 

As a company who’s very much involved in the water industry we see first had the damage that unwanted waste and plastic can do to machines and hardware, so to think what it is doing to our wildlife is unimaginable.  It’s a huge issue, causing worldwide problems.  But thankfully the issue of plastic waste seems to be working its way up the international agenda so hopefully we will start to see long term solutions and radical improvements.

As individuals there may not be much we can do to completely solve the swathes of plastic waste in the oceans, but we can do something to help prevent it becoming worse.  If we all ditched the disposable and used a refillable just think of the impact it could have on a bigger scale.