Plastic Free July 2020: Day 5 – Cold Drink Cups


Unlike the hot drink takeaway cups we discussed on Day 1, cold drink cups might seem a bit more obvious. Why? Well, they’re obviously made of plastic, whereas hot drink cups tend to disguise the plastic elements by mixing it with paper.

Also unlike hot drink cups, these plastic takeaway cups are *generally* easier to recycle – and by that I mean, at least most recycling facilities can process it. That’s because these cups are *usually* made from Polyethylene terephthalate, abbreviated as PET or PETE (recycling symbol 1). This type of plastic is regarded as highly recyclable relative to other forms of plastic like polystyrene.

So what’s the big deal then? We know we should try to avoid these cups whenever possible by utilizing our own reusable mugs. But if that’s not possible, at least we know we can recycle the cup and hopefully the top, right? True, but if you forgot your reusable cup, there’s a good chance you forgot your reusable straw, too. That means you might be tempted to use a plastic straw from the cafe.

And straws are NOT recyclable.

And these little buggers add up. Think about how many straws you used as a kid. They’re all sitting around somewhere today. Hopefully in a landfill at not in the ocean.

So what can you do if you forget your reusable straw? Go topless! If possible, request no top at all. No straw necessary, and you’re saving that little bit of plastic… and again, it adds up!

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