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Reduce your single use

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Lily Curle, Posted: Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 09:00

ecoffee cup – Yours Sustainably ecoffee cup – Yours Sustainably

Coffee shops and cafés are largely regarded to be one of the least eco-friendly places seen on the high street. Full of non-reusable cups, bottles that get thrown in the bin, plastic straws and plastic films that cannot be recycled, drastic changes are being made to ensure that these companies reduce the extortionate amount of waste they produce.

What is being introduced?

Paper straws are becoming more common in chain coffee shops, but these can be a little tricky, especially if the cups have plastic lids – they can tear more easily and disintegrate with too much pressure. Many cups are now being made where the non-recyclable part can be separated from the recyclable. It’s always worth checking to see if the printed films on bottles can be torn away, or the film on yogurt pots, as this means that the main bottle or pot itself can be recycled!

There are incentives in some shops to take reusable cups, whereby companies will charge less for your tea or coffee if you use a reusable cup. Although you’ll have the initial outlay of buying a cup (most range from £10-£20), the discount you’ll receive on the cost of your hot beverage will soon outweigh this – especially if you get takeaway drinks regularly!

Some food is also now packaged in paper bags instead of plastic to make sure that it can be recycled, and Supermarkets are being urged to reassess the amount of packaging they use on their products, particularly those that could easily be sold loose (mainly fruit and vegetables).

What are the best decisions to make?

When using paper straws, it’s advisable to drink more quickly and to forgo the lid on the cup if you can. Where the paper has to be pushed through a cut in the plastic, it can rip quite easily, and is more fragile when wet. Ordering it without the lid saves plastic from being used in the first place, but it also stops the straw from tearing so easily. As for drinking faster, this makes sure that the straw doesn’t get soggy!

Even better would be to go without a straw. Whether you’re at your local café, restaurant or bar, try to ask for your drink without a straw. You could even go further by encouraging your local watering hole to ditch the straws almost completely, leaving a few behind the bar for those who require a straw for medical reasons.

Most chain stores offer reusable cups to buy at the counter, but they will also fill up any other cup you’ve got with you. So, if you have a loyalty towards one brand, you can still drink from your cup with their logo, or you could equally have one with a vintage design if that’s more your thing! Having a reusable cup also means you can use it at work if your workplace doesn’t provide mugs, or in situations where you might otherwise need a styrofoam cup. It also makes you seem more organised and having a cup in an attractive design may encourage others to follow suit.

Take some time out

Nowadays, we are always on the go, whether it’s with work, children, hobbies or catching up with friends. Try to take some time out of your busy schedule to swap the coffee ‘to go’ for a drink in a proper mug – you might find you enjoy sitting still for half an hour and having a break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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