Many people now believe themselves to be ethical consumers when it comes to what they purchase (sustainable fashion and veganism are officially mainstream), but research from recycling company First Mile has found that the UK currently has a massive blind spot when it comes to ethical consumption: single-use coffee cups.

Drink more at home

Drink more at home

We are a nation of coffee drinkers. There’s a coffee shop on every corner, a coffee chain in every shopping centre, and even coffee drive-throughs for your commute. And each of these places uses single-use coffee cups - 2.5 BILLION per year in the UK alone. So, what’s the problem? Well, the research found that:

  • Only 1% of these get recycled, due to the mixture of plastic and paper designed to make them heat and leakproof.
  • This means there are still over 2 billion coffee cups being sent to a landfill each year.

In 2019, is this acceptable? We think not. We’ve put together a list on the best ways to cut down your coffee cup usage, so you can look after the environment while still enjoying your delicious drink!

Invest in a reusable coffee cup

Even though a cup with your name on from a barista can look very glam, one of the best ways to reduce your coffee cup usage is to invest in a reusable cup that you love. Lots of places offer discounts when people bring their own cups in, so it’s a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money in the process.

There are a variety of different designs, materials and sizes out there, so whatever your coffee preference, you’ll be able to find a cup to perfectly match you.

Make sure the cups you use get recycled properly

If you simply can’t resist your morning coffee and haven’t got around to buying your reusable cup yet, try and make sure that your coffee cup is recycled properly. As single-use cups are a mix of both plastic and paper, you can’t put them in your regular recycling bin. However, you can recycle them. There are services throughout the UK, like First Mile, that can help you ensure your cup ends up in the right place.

Doing your research and making a little extra effort to get your cup recycled will make a massive difference in helping the environment.

Help educate people

As mentioned above, the UK has a big blind spot when it comes to coffee cups. Speaking to people around you about cutting down their use, sharing statistics on social media and trying to make people a little more aware of their consumption can go a long way.

Take some time to chill in a coffee shop (and use a mug)

One of the main reasons single-use coffee cups are so popular is because we are always in a rush. While rushing about, we take our drinks with us instead of taking the time to sit down and enjoy them.

Taking a minute to chill out and enjoy your drink in a coffee mug will help both the environment and your own mindfulness.

Drink more at home

In the morning, why not get up a little earlier and have your morning coffee at home? You don’t have to worry about queues, wrong orders, or delays. If you’re all about the taste, you could invest in a cafetière to make that perfect morning cup. 

Speak to your workplace

Some offices now have their own coffee shops, which is a great perk. However, it’s not so great when they use single-use coffee cups, promoting their usage even more. If this is the case for you, take the time to speak to the operations or office manager and explain the harm it can cause.

Switch to water

This may be a little easier said than done, but by just swapping out one of your coffee cups for a glass of water can make a huge difference to the amount of waste produced!

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