In the recent months, there has been increased awareness regarding the issues surrounding plastic waste. Maharashtra was the latest to join the ban bandwagon for single-use disposable plastic.
So since single use plastic cups are banned, are paper cups a logical and environmentally kind alternative? Not really. Let’s do a quick fact check.
– Less than 1 per cent of paper coffee cups are recycled.
– Paper cups as the name suggests are made of paper but they become usable only after getting lined with low-density polyethylene, labeled
grade 4, which is not collected for recycling even in advanced cities like New York!
– The difficulty of recycling coffee cups goes further up after they get used (only once) and contaminated with tea and coffee served in them.
All of this brings us to a bigger problem – the so-called eco-friendly paper cups CANNOT be recycled at standard recycling plants. That explains why – less than 1 per cent of paper coffee cups are recycled!
The paper in these paper cups has its own flip side too. Made of virgin paper pulp add the burden on trees that get axed for being used by one unique user, only once. The fate of every paper cup takes it into garbage bins and eventually landfills.
By preventing the use of paper coffee cups, the Government could pave the way for a more environmentally friendly policy that brings in measurable impact and encourages use of reusable plastic cups. There are 100% recyclable and reusable options available such as multi-use cups made of Polypropylene grade 5 (PP 5) that are environmentally kind, truly reusable, reducible and completely recyclable. For better understanding, this is the same material that is considered the safest for making kids toys and baby bottles. Also, PP 5 is recyclable in an economically viable manner into many different products such as clothing fibres, planters, containers, bins etc.
To be socially responsible as a company or as an individual, let’s proactively seek this symbol and contribute to making the Indian
Government’s regime geared towards finding reusable alternatives, a grand success.