Dear Torontonians, coffee cups don't belong in recycling
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 8:37 PM - Yes, you read that right. Takeout coffee cups do not belong in blue bins.
Yet every day hundreds of thousands used coffee cups mistakenly end up in Toronto's recycling bins.
In 2015, an estimated 45,000 tonnes of garbage was mistakenly put into recycling, which is why the City of Toronto launched Bad Things Happen -- a campaign for public education that outlines what does not belong in recycling bins.
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Along with used Starbucks, Second Cup, and Tim Hortons cups, textiles, VHS tapes, organic waste, and containers with food residue are listed as misplaced waste.
In 2009, Torontonians disposed of roughly a million cups per day, The Toronto Star reports. The City of Toronto was unable to confirm if that figure has decreased or grown larger, since.
Nearly a decade ago, city officials expected a different future for coffee cups.
A task force was established to find different ways to get coffee cups out of landfills. Among the proposed alternatives was a motion to ban paper cups with plastic lids, and a proposal that pushed coffee shops to offer a 20-cent discount to customers with their own mugs, The Star reports.
But the coffee giants dug their heels in.
"[They] said the city was stepping beyond its jurisdiction and they’d do it voluntarily,” said the Toronto Environmental Alliance's Emily Alfred, in an interview with The Star.
Though Canada's largest coffee chains introduced in-store recycling bins, there's no certainty that coffee cups are really being sent to a recycling plant, Alfred said.
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Thumbail image courtesy of Kurt Bauschardt, Flickr.