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What to do about disposable coffee cups

Posted on 28 July 2016

How can we reduce the impact of product packaging?

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's War on Waste: The Battle Continues (due for broadcast tonight at 21:00 on BBC1), and a recent Times newspaper article – "Recyclable coffee cup offers solution to litter problem" have once again raised the important issue of our collective responsibility to steward valuable resources, and the UK's drive to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Of course, whilst recyclable coffee cups offer one solution, it is not the only sustainable alternative for diverting packaging waste away from landfill.  We shouldn't limit ourselves or rule out other opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of packaging.

Innovative design that seeks to reduce waste can support businesses and consumers to do the right thing.  Genuinely biodegradable food packaging for example, made from plants not plastic, means no separation or cleaning of food packaging is necessary.

At River Cottage's Spring Food Fair, Viridor together with biodegradable packaging firm, Vegware, enabled a recycling rate of 72% by serving all food on compostable packaging.  This compares to an average event recycling rate of 15%.   

Importantly, all quality recycling contributes strongly to reducing carbon emissions.

We prioritise and welcome all efforts to recycle more, to recover energy from non-recyclable waste, and to reduce waste sent to landfill - and the innovation and opportunities that enable us to achieve this.