In the News: The Top Recycling Stories Making the Headlines
If you can’t bear the thought of facing your morning commute without a coffee but you worry about the impact on the environment, Network Rail are just about to make it a lot easier to be environmentally-friendly.
The train operator is just about to roll out the first of their new coffee cup recycling bins at all of the stations it manages including King’s Cross, Leeds, London Bridge, Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads, Edinburgh Waverley, and Manchester Piccadilly
Train passenger numbers reduced dramatically at the height of the coronavirus pandemic but now as the number of people travelling by train is increasing again, the company thought that now was the perfect time to introduce the bright orange recycling bins.
Network Rail are working in partnership with the environmental charity Hubbub and waste management company Interserve to provide the bins.
The decision comes after the findings of a YouGov study commissioned by Network Rail found that people do want to recycle their coffee cups but they often don’t know how to.
The survey also found that:
- 58% of people use either a waste bin or general recycling bin to recycle coffee cups despite these being unsuitable for them. Almost a quarter of those people said they didn’t realise that coffee cups had to be recycled in specific bins.
- Only 3 in 10 adults who buy coffee while travelling put the cup in a bin specifically designed for recycling coffee cups once they have finished with it.
- Of the 52% of people who don’t recycle their coffee cups, most said that this was because of a lack of recycling facilities.
‘Sip, Save and Recycle’
Network Rail has just launched a new sustainability strategy, and top of the list is to make its stations greener.
The company’s Chief Environment and Sustainability Officer said that it knows that passengers want to do more for the environment, and it wants to help them do that by installing accessible, easy-to-use coffee cup recycling bins at the stations it manages.
The message accompanying the bins is ‘Sip, Save and Recycle’.
The founder of Hubbub said it’s delighted to be working in partnership with Network Rail on the introduction of the new recycling bins. He added that coffee cups can be recycled, but the plastic lining that makes them waterproof also means that they need to collected separately from other recycling.
Hubbub’s contribution to the introduction of the recycling bins was made possible by funds raised from the 5p charge that Starbucks added to its single-use coffee cups.
The coffee cups collected from the new recycling bins will be turned into reusable cups and other products like tissue and packaging.
Are you a sustainable coffee drinker?
If you can’t commute without a Costa but you worry about the impact of your daily latte on the environment, here are some tips on how to be a more environmentally-conscious coffee drinker.
Buy a reusable cup
This is the easiest way to make your coffee habit more sustainable. Look for a durable cup that you’ll be able to recycle when it’s past its best. Another bonus of having a reusable cup is that a lot of the big coffee chains now offer a discount on drinks if you bring your own cup.
Do away with the single-use pods
Coffee pods are hard to recycle and they contain a mix of materials including plastic. Because you can only use them once, this creates a lot of waste. If you’re not quite ready to give up the pods, try investing in compostable ones that work in most machines.
Compost your coffee grounds
Coffee grounds can be added to compost as a valuable source of nitrogen to help your plants grow as well as banishing pests like slugs and snails from your garden.
Invest in a reusable filter
Paper coffee filters create a lot of waste and they are often bleached too which is harmful if they are left rotting away in landfill. Your best bet is investing in a reusable filter.
When you buy coffee, opt for sustainable brands. This means that you can enjoy your coffee in the knowledge that coffee farmers are being paid fairly for what they produce, and because organic coffee production doesn’t involve chemicals, it’s better for you and the environment too.