There are 2.6 billion disposable coffee cups used in the UK every year while the USA can boast a massive turnover of 16 billion.
Adding to the problem are all the millions of trees that are cut down to provide the raw material for these cups and the billions of gallons of water used in their manufacture.
Where will it all end?
Well, if they cannot be recycled, then they will end up in landfill sites or burnt...
Why can coffee cups not be recycled?
They are extremely hard to recycle because the waterproof plastic film coating applied to the inside of the disposable cups is fused so tightly to the paper that it cannot be separated.
One UK Company is doing its bit by offering a 25% discount to each customer who brings in a reusable cup or mug to their stores when buying their coffee. Pret A Manger has designed a scheme to reduce the estimated 25,000 tons of waste produced each year by billions of discarded disposable coffee cups.
At this time, fewer than one in 400 cups sold in the UK is recycled. The rest are buried in landfill or even burnt. The Costa coffee chain and Starbucks have been quick to point out that they too offer a discount at their UK stores. Starbucks discount is 50p (approximately 60 cents) per coffee.
The situation is much the same in the USA. The number of specialty coffee shops in the United States has increased over the last 24 years reaching almost 31,500 establishments in 2015 with Starbucks being the largest chain.
Please do your bit
Picking up your cup of coffee at least once a day from a coffee shop has become a way of life for many. But with a little bit of extra effort, you can avoid all this waste as well as decreasing the toll on the environment, simply by bringing your own reusable coffee mug with you every time.
And if you choose the right company, you could receive a discount too!
Avoiding using disposable coffee cups is not the only way to help the environment
- Discover how to keep your coffee machine clean and safe to use as well as what is happening to all those coffee pods that have become so popular when using coffee machines.
As more and more of us become aware of the environment around us - and what we can do to help protect it especially for future generations - there is a small glimmer of hope on the horizon that perhaps there is still a little time left to change things around.
Being more careful about how you drink your cups of coffee is one step in the right direction.