Think you’re doing the right thing by throwing your coffee cup in the recycling bin?
A campaign by Griffith University is underway to help spread the word that the majority of ‘recycled’ coffee cups end up in landfill.
The liquid-proof lining in the cups prohibits them from being recycled along with the usual everyday recyclables, as the lining prevents the paper fibres from separating quickly enough from the polyethylene liner for them to be recovered in the recycling process.
Every year Australians dispose of over a billion coffee cups. To help reduce the number of these cups going into landfill, Griffith is taking a successful pilot Coffee Cup Recycling Program run by the Griffith Centre for Sustainable Enterprise last year and deploying it across all five university campuses.
The initiative has been made possible by a collaboration between Griffith Business School and Campus Life.
At the beginning of August, all campuses had ‘cup rescue collection tubes’ permanently installed next to bins, where coffee drinkers could ‘flip, tip and slip’ their coffee cups – flip the plastic lid into the recycling bin, tip out the content, and slip the cup into the collection tube.
Griffith has partnered with Closed Loop and their Simply Cups initiative, which can take 4-6 disposable cups and turn them into one reusable cup.
Griffith Business School Sustainability Officer Vanessa Taveras Dalmau said the collected cups on campus would be on display in a large perspex box as part of the War On Coffee Cups display every day of Griffith’s Sustainability Week, September 3-7, demonstrating just how many cups we dispose of when grabbing a takeaway coffee.
“Last year the pilot project we ran collected 2300 cups, but the box fits about 4000 cups and we’re hoping for it to be a tight squeeze this year for them,” she said.
“People were really excited to use it to save their cups from landfill.
“Here in the Griffith Business School one of our values is responsible leadership and commitment to sustainable practices. We came across this idea being used elsewhere and it falls in line with our own projects, and it’s been great to see people get on board with it.”
Ms Taveras Dalmau and her project colleague Rachel Perkins will offer a free reusable cup to visitors who score well in an on-the-spot mini quiz at the War On Coffee Cups display every day of Sustainability Week 2018, September 3-7, at Griffith’s Nathan campus, Campus Heart, 12-2pm.