Coffee cups are confusing we admit. They are made from paper so why can't you recycle them? First, they usually have lots of coffee in them and liquid is a very bad thing for recycling—just ask your custodian or the folks handling the bags of recycling. Second, the type of fiber used to make coffee cups just isn't high quality, and as our recent plastics post explained, if the recyclable item isn't high quality manufacturers don't want to use it to make a new product. Third, because the paper cups have a wax coating to keep the liquid from seeping through onto your hands, the process to turn the cups into new paper is expensive and challenging.
So what are you supposed to do with your paper coffee cups? Compost them of course! (Styrofoam cups should go in incinerate bin) But even better, why not refuse the disposable cup and bring your own mug. Reusable mugs are way more stylish, you can knock them over they don't spill all over your paperwork, they are more sustainable, and, even better, you save money because every café on the Homewood campus offers a discount if you bring your own mug—Save some cash and bring your own.
Lastly, if your office has a Keurig machine, you can now recycle your K-Cups. The program, called Grounds to Grow On, allows customers to place their used K-Cup pods into a convenient countertop box that when filled can be shipped at no cost via UPS. To receive your free K-Cup recycling box use your Amazon business account to order item #MYOGTGOLGJHUEA. Once received by Keurig, the pods are disassembled, the coffee grounds are composted and the plastic and foil packaging is recycled. The Grounds to Grow On program will accept any brand of K-Cup pod.
To learn more about waste reduction and diversion on the Homewood campus follow Homewood Recycling on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Take the America Recycles Day pledge.