For years our recycling programs have remained static, but recycling is changing. Commencing January 1st, 2019, polycoat paper and cardboard containers will be removed from Loraas’ blue cart program. These include paper coffee cups, cardboard ice cream containers, paper soft drink cups, and non-beverage aseptic containers for soups and sauces. Why?
Recyclables are a traded commodity, meaning products are only recyclable if a manufacturer can turn them into a new product. To physically recycle polycoat items, the paper or cardboard product must be turned back into a pulp. Disposable coffee cups are intended to be used once, therefore separating the plastic lining from the paper is nearly impossible.
Canadians discard 14 billion disposable coffee cups in a single year (Zero Waste Canada, 2018). For hygienic reasons, coffee cups are often made out of virgin materials; real trees – not recycled paper. Unlike most recyclable paper items, polycoat cups and containers are not pure fibre and are lined in plastic, allowing them to hold liquids. To clarify, not all paper cups are lined with plastic and some are coated with wax. Determining which is which can be difficult. We advise treating them the same way – simply trash both!
So, what could you do now? You can reduce the amount of disposable coffee cups and paper takeout containers you use by opting for reusable alternatives. Sit down and enjoy your coffee rather than taking it out of the store, or bring your own thermos or mug. Or bring a reusable container with you for takeout foods. Follow us on social media @LoraasYXE for more great tips!
Zero Waste Canada. 2018. Accessed at: https://zerowastecanada.ca/tag/coffee-cups/. Accessed on: 6 December 2019.