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The Waste Mountain of Coffee Cups

We are a nation of caffeine addicts. It’s estimated that 50 billion paper coffee cups are being thrown away in the USA every year.

Most of us like to think we’re doing the right thing with the empty cup, and throw it into the bin marked “recycling,” but it has recently been revealed that only 1 in 400 coffee cups are recycled because they are made of a difficult-to-recycle mix of paper and plastic.

The problem is that “paper” cups are not actually simply made of paper but include a layer of polyethylene. This means they cannot simply be recycled with paper or cardboard and end up in landfill sites for decades.

If we collected all the billions of paper cups that end up in landfill sites every year in the US and compared them against the height of the Space Needle in Seattle (home to Starbucks), this is what it might look like…

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