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Sustainability is the new black. Most of us are aware of the need to lessen our impact on the environment, and to make small changes that can help reduce our day-to-day footprint.
For many coffee drinkers, the choice of the cup used to enjoy the first caffeine hit of the day is a significant factor, considering the overall volume of landfill and the percentage of it that is made up of discarded food packaging.
So as a coffee business owner, what sort of cups should you be offering your customers? There’s no doubt that reusable coffee cups are environmentally-friendly, but disposable coffee cups are very convenient. The good news is that there are disposable cups out there that do have green credentials.
Let’s take a brief look at both options.
Reusable coffee cups come in many different forms and can be used again and again, cutting down on waste. Some are made of plastic – traditional as well as bio-plastic. Others are made of glass or ceramics. While they still have plastic lids, because the cups are intended for long-term use, their biodegradability becomes less of an issue, as it will be some time before the lids are thrown away.
There are a few issues with this type of cup though. They can be cumbersome to carry around, and customers may not always have their cup handy when they feel like stopping in for a spontaneous takeaway coffee.
On the surface, all paper coffee cups would seem to be a viable option, as paper biodegrades. Right? Well, the real answer to that question is not all disposable coffee cups are created equal. Not all can biodegrade completely.
This is because most paper takeaway coffee cups are made of multiple layers – in order to insulate to some degree as well as to ensure that the hot liquid doesn’t just soak straight through. Some manufacturers include a plastic lining for one of the layers, and if it’s not one of the new plant-based bio-plastics, the cups won’t break down.
This means it’s important to look for disposable cups which are made using bio-plastics that do have biodegradable qualities.
There are also paper cups available that are both compostable and made using materials from sustainable sources.
If you’re in a coffee business, it’s worth sourcing sustainable takeaway coffee cups that are compostable or biodegradable. Not only does it help lessen landfill waste, it can be an important point of difference to your competitors when it comes to marketing your business – without any loss of convenience to your customers.