Paper Cups & Recycling

There is a lot of information about being able to recycle paper cups in Australia and sometimes it can be a bit confusing.

We’ve put together the following information to try and make it a little clearer for you.

Can paper cups be recycled?

Yes. According to research undertaken by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), research shows that takeaway coffee cups can in fact be recycled.

We also can back this up with the fact that any waste paper used in the manufacture of the cups at our factory is picked up by a local recycling centre and recycled.

APCO CEO Trish Hyde said that because the actual cup is made from paperboard with a plastic lining – there have been concerns that this mixed material presents issues for recycling facilities.

“Our APCO organisation members include material recovery and recycling facilities. Through the working group, we resolved that coffee cups can be recycled,” she said.

“Having said that, we also know that there is more work to do to ensure that recyclers receive fair value in recycling this material.”

Are the cups always recycled?

Unfortunately not. There are councils within Australia that do recycle paper cups but not all do. Below you will find a list of those councils that do currently recycle paper cups.

• Armidale Dumareq Council
• Byron Shire Council
• Gosford City Council
• Lismore City Council
• Moree Plains Shire Council
• Murrumbidgee Shire Council
• Port Stephens Council
• Shellharbour City Council
• Snowy River Shire
• Tamworth Regional Council
• Tenterfield Shire Council
• Tumbarumba Shire
• Wyong Shire Council

South Australia
• Adelaide Hills Council
• Alexandria Council
• Barossa Council
• District Council of Cleve
• Town of Gawler
• Kangaroo Island Council
• City of Mount Gambier
• City of Onkaparinga
• City of Playford
• City of Port Adelaide Enfield
• City of Salisbury
• City of Unley
• City of Victor Harbor
• City of West Torrens
• District Council of Yankalilla

• City of Ballarat
• Cardinia Shire
• Greater Bendigo City Council
• Nillumbik Shire Council
• Warrnambool City Council
• Wyndham City Council

• All ACT Councils

• Brisbane City Council
• Lock Valley Regional Council
• Scenic Rim Regional Council
• Southern Downs Regional Council
• Whitsunday Regional Council

Western Australia
• Cambridge Town
• City of Bunbury
• City of Busselton
• City of Cockburn
• Manjimup Shire

Perth City

Are compostable biodegradable cups a better option?

At the moment there a very few options for the biodegradable cups to be commercially composted and they are not currently treated in the recycling programs any differently to the standard paper cups. Unfortunately, without the cups going through commercial composting facilities compostable biodegradable cups will most likely end up in landfill.

Are things changing?

Yes. While slow development within Australia’s recycling facilities previously made it non-profitable to recycle cups, and meant many waste facilities didn’t separate the cups for recycling, recent innovations have made paper and cardboard recycling more cost-effective.

Through its Simply Cups initiative, environmental solutions company, Closed Loop, is tackling Australia’s overwhelming waste problem by teaming up with 7-Eleven to save coffee cups from landfill.

7-Eleven are installing dedicated coffee cup recycling bins in over 200 of their stores nationally, as well as funding 50 other large-scale locations including offices, universities and construction sites as part of the initiative. All of these cups are collected and sent off to processing plants that are designed specifically to process the recycling of paper cups.

To learn more about how the 7-Eleven initiative might benefit you – check out their website.