The coffee and the landfill (a classic romance)

Sunday mornings. They can be hectic – rushing around trying to get your last-minute errands done before the new week starts, or they can be chill and relaxing – the calm before the weekly chaos begins again. However, you spend it I think we can agree that a coffee in hand makes it a more pleasant experience.

Have you ever thought of how much your Sunday coffee is impacting the environment though? To the outside eye your takeaway coffee cup just looks a paper outside and plastic lid – however there are more sinister things lurking beneath the surface. The inner lining of the cup is made of polyethylene  plastic which can’t be recycled in New Zealand and so means every single take away cup you ever have had is on a landfill, as it becomes too costly to remove the plastic away from the paper.


An alternative to polyethylene lined cups are reusable cups.

Five coffees a week results in 14kg of waste a year.

There is 1 million disposable cups put in landfill every minute


Your sad, abandoned coffee cup.

There is now a move to make your takeaway cups compostable  instead. Most of the cup will be made of plant material instead. For example ecoware uses a plastic that is made from sugarcane or corn starch. These plastics (polylactic acid or polylactide) are not only biodegradable but also come from a renewable source. However, these cups can still not be recycled.

Compostable and and biodegradable mean different things too, so be careful and keep this in mind when companies market their products.

Compostable: Able to ‘disintegrate into natural elements in a compost environment, leaving no toxicity in the soil.’

Biodegradable: Can be broken down quickly by microbes. It has also seen that plastics in landfills release methane gas which is contributing to global warming (which is 100% true, no matter what the FAKE NEWS says.)

It can be hard to guarantee that the café you visit has these compostable cups though, so if you want to take matters into your own hands you can always buy a reusable cup.

I recently purchased a cup off and love it!! The site allows you to pick your own colour scheme as well as picking from a range of types and colours.  These cups are also made of fully recyclable materials so can be shipped off at the end of its life (which is apparently 3 years +).  During these 3 years, you alone would have contributed 2.7 kgs of plastic to the landfill. The only downside of these is carrying them around – but are fine if you know in advance you are getting a drink.


Baristas are always happy to use other cups (it makes less dishes for them) 👍

Another alternative is always to take a break and sit down and enjoy a nice ol’ fashioned have here coffee.

Happy drinking friends! Hope you are now enlightened to the effects of your weekly coffee cups. 😀