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Coffee Cup Recycling

Cups = landfill. Lids = recycling.

Disposable cups and other single-use items should be avoided where possible. But if you can't get by without the odd takeaway coffee, make sure the waste ends up in the right bin.

  • Coffee cup lids can be recycled
  • Coffee cups go in the landfill bin*
  • Compostable cups, like Biopak 'biocups', can be recycled via the organics bin

What we’re doing on campus

Our year-long war against disposable cup waste has included:

  • Updating bin signage
  • Re-educating staff and students about what can be recycled
  • Giving away more than 400 KeepCups
  • Creating an 'Emergency Mug Wall'
  • Convincing our on-campus cafes to provide discounts for BYO cups
  • Engaging with retailers on compostable takeaway cups

The Problem

Each year in Australia, an estimated one billion disposable coffee cups end up in landfill. Coffee cups are estimated to be the second-largest contributor to waste after plastic bottles.

The majority of takeaway cups are lined on the inside with a plastic film, making them difficult to recycle. Although some cups can be commercially composted, it's difficult to distinguish between cups that are and aren't recyclable, so bins tend to get contaminated by the wrong items.

Compostable and biodegradable paper cups cannot be put into household compost, making the 'recycling rules' even more confusing.

Infrastructure Engagement
North Terrace Campus
The University of Adelaide

Telephone: +61 8 8313 3763

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