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Coffee cups still not recyclable


One of the biggest non-recyclable items put into recycling bags which is a constant headache for the staff at the Recycle Centre is disposable coffee cups. If you ever wondered why you can’t toss the cup from that coffee you just drank into the recycling bin? Turns out, the answer is pretty simple.
The vast majority of disposable coffee cups are made of cardboard, but are also lined with a thin plastic coating, so your hot drink actually stays in the cup.
You might ask, but what’s the big problem? Plastic can be recycled right?
It’s pretty hard for most facilities to separate the polyethylene lining from the paper, expecting out tiny facility to do it in The Pas is no different, so the cups can’t be recycled into either paper or plastic and they end up in the landfill.
Some disposable cups are lined with wax instead of plastic, but figuring out which cups have the wax lining is another difficult issue for recycling companies.
Consumers shouldn’t throw the cups into the blue bin and hope for the best either, a non-recyclable disposable cup could contaminate a whole load of perfectly good recyclable material, meaning it all ends up in the landfill. If The Pas Recycling Centre sends out a bail of recycling and it is found contaminated with non-recycling they might not be paid for the load.
Toronto studied the possibility of adding disposable coffee cups to their recycling system in 2009 and found that sorting them, separating the materials, and then marketing them to recyclers would be too challenging, particularly since the paper from the cups is low grade. If Toronto couldn’t do it, we certainly wouldn’t be able to do it here.
Since Canadians are estimated to drink nearly 4.2 billion cups of takeout coffee a year, the sooner a solution is found to keep them out of landfills, the better.