Ditch those disposable cups

5 mins read

Today, October 4, is No Disposable Cup Day. In the UK, 7 million disposable cups are used each day. With the growing climate crisis, making the switch to reusable cups is now more important than ever.

No Disposable Cup Day aims to encourage people to not use a disposable cup for one day. By encouraging people to make a simple lifestyle change for just one day, the hope is that it will make those who do consider making this an everyday change.

Recycling your cup or using a compostable one is not the answer. These are still single use products and end up not being as easy to dispose of as you think.

Founder of No Disposable Cup Day, Ed Gemmel said: “Using a disposable cup is the craziest thing ever. We get a disposable cup to allow us to drink a coffee in 10 minutes, but that cup and its top stay on the planet for 400 years.

“They are also super difficult to recycle as they often combine plastic and paper so need to go to special recycling centres and can not be recycled through our kerbside service. The vast majority end up in landfill and that does not include the nearly half a million we drop on the floor every day.

“We started No Disposable Cup Day to encourage us all to make a special effort to go one day without a disposable cup. To make the point that this is an easy lifestyle change. We really hope lots of people who stop using disposable cups for a day will make that a positive habit change for the future.”

Single use plastic ban and the continuing sale of disposable cups

Single-use plastics
Single-use plastics. Image Credit: Pexels / Polina Tankilevitch

In line with Scotland’s Climate Week last week, it is now more important than ever to move away from single-use products where possible. With climate change becoming an increasing worry, simple lifestyle changes can help tackle it.

The Scottish Government has already implemented as of June 2022, a single-use plastic ban, which makes it an offence for businesses to provide items including plastic cutlery, plates and stirrers.

However, the same ban doesn’t apply to disposable cups. The government has instead implemented charges on things like carrier bags and plans to reinstate charges to single-use products such as disposable cups ‘to help encourage people to make more sustainable choices’.

People are eager for action to be taken on items such as disposable cups. More and more people are becoming aware of simple habits such as grabbing a coffee in a disposable cup is contributing to the mass waste the country is producing.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, stated that earlier this year a Zero Waste Scotland survey showed that “66 per cent of Scots would support introducing charges to limit the use of single-use plastic and packaging.”

However, with no official ban on these products, there are still large amounts of single-use products being used and thrown away each day.

Switching from a disposable cup to a reusable one

Coffee cups
Reusable coffee cup surrounded by disposable cups. Image Credit: Pexels/Anonti Shkraba

You can find a reusable cup from just about anywhere these days. Many coffee shops don’t only sell reusable cups, but also offer perks when using them in-store. Many university campuses will also allow you to fill your reusable cup. The reason many people are still opting for disposable cups is simply down to convenience.

Many people now have switched to reusable water bottles. Making the switch to a reusable coffee cup shouldn’t take a second thought to the avid coffee or tea drinker.

By making sure you have your clean, reusable cup in either your bag or your car will mean you are removing one less cup from being thrown away.

One person alone can’t tackle the 7 million disposable cups used every day. To tackle this and the climate change crisis, everyone must tackle it together.

Make the switch to a reusable cup this No Disposable Cup Day.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

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Lifestyle Editor / Third year journalism student

1 Comment

  1. Good article – although your line ” The government has instead implemented charges on things like carrier bags and single-use disposable cups ” suggests there is already a charge for single-use cups. It isn’t in place yet.

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