herald

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Storm brewing over reusable coffee cups

‘Don’t Be Dick’ campaign ad
‘Don’t Be Dick’ campaign ad

Three local authorities in Dublin have banded together to tackle the issue of disposable coffee cups.

The majority of cups are made from paper, with a plastic lining to make them waterproof, and cannot be recycled.

The new Don't Be Dick campaign informs coffee drinkers in the capital that disposable cups have a negative impact on the environment.

Irish people use more than 200 million disposable coffee cups a year, which have become a source of litter in the city.

Shocking

Speaking about the campaign, Fionnghuala Ryan, executive environmental scientific officer with Waste Management Services at Dublin City Council, said: "The issue of single-use plastics is very topical at present.

"Research suggests that we use well in excess of 200 million disposable cups in Ireland every year, which is a shocking number for a country of our size.

"These cups cannot be recycled and can only be disposed of to landfill or incineration.

"A recent trial of segregated waste bins in Dublin city centre found that coffee cups contaminated all waste streams, so this presents a major litter problem for all local authorities."

Dublin City Council, South Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council are all involved in spearheading the campaign, which runs for the next three weeks.

Fingal County Council environmental education officer Edwina Dunford said: "The campaign does not encourage compostable cups, as composting is a very specific process which does not occur in landfill, where some of them end up, as not all cafes have compost bins.

"Also, if they end up in a plastics recycling bin, they will contaminate the process."

Sorcha O'Brien, environmental awareness officer for environment, water and climate change at South Dublin County Council, said reusable cups would save people money in the long run.

"It makes sense - using your reusable cup allows you to have your coffee, your way," Ms O'Brien said.

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