Why coffee cups are bad for the environment: How many trees are cut down every year?

Posted on December 16 2021

Most Australians start their day off with a cup of coffee or a few. If you’re at home or work, you probably have a range of mugs to choose from, but if you are on the move, you’re most likely going to end up at a café, where you’ll be given a standard takeaway cup. 

This might seem innocent at first, after all, it’s just one cup, right? But these cups have a real negative impact on the environment. From the means taken to keep them warm, to the number of trees cut down to make them. The best way to help in this case is to get yourself an eco-friendly, reusable coffee cup

So why are they so bad for the environment? Let’s go over some important reasons you should make the switch to reusable cups. 

They’re made with plastic

Yes, that’s right even paper and carton cups are lined with plastic paste known as polyethylene. This plastic lining helps to keep the contents of your coffee cup nice and warm, but it also prevents the cup from being recycled. 

Many places around the world such as the UK have banned these single-use plastic cups along with plastic covers and straws while others are on their way to achieving this goal. By doing so they are helping to fix the damage being done by these coffee cups. 

Millions of trees are cut down to make them

Ever wonder how many trees have to pay for us to consume coffee on the go? Well, around 16 billion paper cups are used each year for coffee, this leads to 6.5 million trees being cut down. Along with this, 4 billion gallons of water go to waste and so does enough energy to power 54,000 homes for a year. 

Seems like a lot going to waste just for a paper cup of coffee. Switching to a keep cup such as this ecoffee cup, can help save all these resource plus the time, energy and money used to make them.

Your iced coffee is causing problems too 

Your iced drinks are not immune to these problems. Most plastic cups used for cold drinks are made from polypropylene. This kind of plastic is not accepted by most curb side recycling systems. Thankfully you can bring your own cup for iced drinks too. Many coffee shops also offer small discounts to customers who bring their own cups. A little bit of inventive goes a long way. 

Your coffee cup lid is a troublemaker

The biggest culprit in this coffee cup conundrum is its plastic lid. They might prevent spilling, but these plastic lids are super difficult to recycle because they are made from polypropylene or polystyrene, which is petroleum-based plastic. Essentially, waste companies don’t feel that it's a profitable cause to recycle them. This is because the process to sort through them, clean them and melt them is too costly. 

Again, a keep cup can help solve these problems, but if you are in a pinch you can always skip the lid altogether for both your hot and cold drinks.

Keep the coffee flowing

You don’t need to invest in solar panels for your home to lead a greener life and you don’t have to stop drinking coffee to help make a change either. Simply by getting your hands on a reusable coffee cup, you’re helping to create a solution to fix the problem. 

At Urban Ethos we have many sustainable and eco-friendly products on offer to help you make these small changes in your life, to help better the planet. By investing in a reusable coffee cup, you will help save paper, reduce plastic waste and your contribution to landfills. Head here to look through our range of reusable coffee cups. 

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