The stark truth is that since the collapse of Britain’s only cup recycling scheme, the 2.5 billion-plus paper cups used in the UK each year have been sent to general waste where they are either landfilled or incinerated. You would think that, being made of paper they would be recyclable, but the problem with them is that they are made of 95% paper and 5% polythene which forms a thin coating on the inside so it will hold your coffee. This is the same coating as is used in Tetrapak which is widely recycled but the recycling industry say coffee cups will contaminate the recycling! So, almost none of these cups get recycled and nearly all end up in landfill or incineration facilities – that’s 25,000 tonnes of waste a year
Happily things are beginning to change and one company – James Cropper, in Cumbria is pioneering ways to recycle paper cups.