Ban single use coffee cups in Ireland by 2020

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Over 200 million single use coffee cups are thrown away in general waste every year in Ireland, that’s 528,000 cups every day or 22,000 an hour.

While many disposable cups carry the recyclable logo, the actual cup is not recyclable in Ireland and must be disposed of in general waste. The logo refers only to the plastic lids and the cardboard sleeves on some cups, which can be removed and placed for recycling. 

These cup are lined with plastic polyethylene which is fused to the paper making the cups waterproof but also difficult to recycle requiring specialist recycling centres which do not exist in Ireland. Less than 1 per cent of coffee cups are recycled globally.

Half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured annually around the world: that’s over 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet. Many paper cups that are disposed of are made from virgin paper pulp. That means millions of trees must be felled to produce a product that only ends up being used for the length of time it takes to drink an Americano.

The carbon footprint of coffee cup manufacturing and distribution for these single-use items has a devastating impact on the environment.

In 2018, the annual date when people have caused a year’s worth of ecological damage – Earth Overshoot Day – comes two days earlier than last year. It falls on August 1st as calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation that observes humanity’s use of materials such as food, timber and fibres, as well as carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels and environmental damage.

Ireland’s increasing waste and plastic levels are soon to reach critical levels following China’s ban, which came into effect on 1 January. China took 95% of Ireland’s plastic waste in 2016, but the ban will mean that’s no longer possible.

This is a petition to the minister and the government of Ireland to ban the single use coffee cup and insist on sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives.

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