Globally it is estimated that 500 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill or incineration every year. That’s one million cups a minute, every hour of every day of every year. These cups are virtually impossible to recycle due to the combination of plastic and paper in their design, and in Ireland we estimate that we dispose of over 22,000 of these non-recyclable cups every hour.
The Conscious Cup Campaign, was started in late 2016 by a group of concerned individuals who, inspired by similar initiatives of cafes and citizens around the world, are aiming to reduce and eventually eliminate single use cups in Ireland. We met through the Zero Waste Ireland Facebook Group, and now have the support of VOICE, an environmental charity with expertise in waste prevention initiatives and the Regional Waste Offices.
The central focus points of this campaign will be to encourage individuals to switch to reusable cup and to persuade coffee shops to; one, accept the reusable cups and two offer a reward to those customers, be it a monetary discount or extra loyalty points / stamps. Our campaign does not seek to encourage compostable cups as while compostable cups may be preferable to ordinary non-recyclable paper cups, composting is a very specific process which does not occur in landfill, where most of them end up as few cafes have compost bins. Compostable cups are still a single use item and deplete our resources.