Recycling and Sustainability
We can help you with your Recycling and Sustainability. But what does this mean?
With such a focus on being sustainable and responsible, it can get confusing when choosing between recyclable, compostable and biodegradable.
When we talk about sustainability, we mean that it has little or no damage to the environment, therefore able to continue for a long time.
In terms of our cups, they are PEFC accredited. PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system. Their credible standards seek to transform the way forests are managed globally – and locally – to ensure that all of us can enjoy the environmental, social and also economic benefits that forests offer.
The programme is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation, dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification.
Today, PEFC has recognised certification systems in more than 30 countries. Together these account for over 240 million hectares of certified forests, making PEFC the world’s largest forest certification system. It is also the certification system of choice for family and community-owned forests. PEFC-certified materials are specified in public and corporate procurement policies around the world.
For an item to be biodegradable, it means it will break down into the original raw materials it was originally made from, but with no benefit to the soil. Which is essentially what any product would eventually do, if left for a very long time. The key here is the time frame in which the product biodegrades and having the facilities readily available to biodegrade the items without them being sent straight to landfill. There is a big shortage of facilities that can biodegrade in the UK and the lack of segregation from other non-biodegradable items proves a big problem.
When a product is compostable, it can be broken down in around 90 days and becomes a nutrient-rich, usable compost. This doesn’t mean it can be added to a domestic, garden compost heap, they need to be taken to an industrial composting facility. Again, there are limited places that carry this out and therefore the original bio-compostable products become pointless if they simply end up on a landfill.
There are three different methods for composting. Windrow, In-vessel, and Aerated static pile.
Windrow uses an open-air technique, with waste piled in rows, turned regularly so all the materials spend some time in the warm, damp centre where further breakdown occurs.
In-vessel composting is carried out in enclosed silo or drum type structures. The temperature and ventilation are efficiently controlled to break down a wide range of organic material. The waste is mixed to aerate and encourage bacterial activity. This method takes a little longer as the compost then has to be left to cool sufficiently after reaching temperatures of 60°C to kill any dangerous bacteria.
Aerated static pile composting is suited to large quantities of organic waste. The pile of waste is layered with wood chippings or newspaper to allow for the passage of air from the bottom to the top, alternatively, the waste can be laid over pipes that produce airflow.
With our cups being recyclable, this means they can be collected, on mass, by a waste management company, or taken to a ‘Bring Bank’ for delivery to a processing centre, where the paper part of the cup is separated from the plastic lining of the cup, this is then ready for recycling into a new product.
Various companies will collect your cups, you just need to contact them and arrange the best way to do this, to make things much easier, ensure you have specific bins for your customers and visitors to dispose of their cups, like the one below, we can provide a branded recycling bin for your empty cups.
Some stats and facts
- The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year
- Less than 1 per cent of coffee cups are recycled
- Half a million cups are littered every day
- Packaging producers only pay for 10 per cent of the cost of packaging disposal and recycling
With a 2 year report from Paper Cup Recovery & Recycling Group, they have found that ‘coffee cup recycling rates have increased from an estimated 1:400 to 1:25 in just two years and will increase to 1:12 in 2019.’
Read the full report here.
Contact us today to see how we can help in your efforts to make the world a better place on 01226 720 482 or fill out the online form here.