Brands must turn to bio-based innovation to alleviate disposable coffee cup waste

22 March 2016
Brands must turn to bio-based innovation to alleviate disposable coffee cup waste

British manufacturer Biome Bioplastics, one of the UK’s leading developers of natural plastics, is calling for an increased focus on bio-based and biodegradable materials to help alleviate the growing problem of convenience coffee waste ending up in landfill.

Of the approximately 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups thrown away each year, less than one per cent are recycled, according to figures recently released by waste campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Meanwhile coffee machines are becoming increasingly popular in Britain. Hundreds of millions of pods are sent to landfill annually, and those brands that do offer a recycling service having few recycling points and limited collection services.

With mounting pressure on the coffee industry for more sustainable solutions, Biome Bioplastics CEO, Paul Mines called for big brands to do more to ensure novel technologies are readily available for consumers.

“Many coffee drinkers are acting in good faith, buying products with the recycling logo that they assume are being recycled when put in the bin,” Mr Mines said.

“The fact is that much of this mixed plastic waste, such as coffee cups and pods, is simply ending up in increasingly large volumes in landfills across the country.”

Paul Mines Biome Bioplastics

Over the past five years, fast-growing Biome Bioplastics has developed a range of innovative materials for coffee cups, lids and coffee pods based on natural and renewable resources including plant starches and tree by-products.

Coffee cups, lids and pods that use these bioplastics can all be recycled in the established paper recycling stream. They can also be composted along with residual coffee grinds, as Biome Bioplastics materials can degrade to prescribed international standards in composting environments.

“There are high-tech materials being produced here in Britain that are available for market. We are currently producing bio-based materials for a number of large brands in the convenience coffee industry – such as cups, lids and pods – which can either be recycled or thrown away to compost with coffee grounds.”

“The recent revelations of exactly how much landfill waste is being created shows the urgent need for big brands to accelerate work in new, sustainable materials such as bioplastics, in order to respond to consumer concerns.”