The Disposable Coffee Cup Problem

Did you know about the disposable coffee cup problem?

There are approximately 50 million disposable coffee cups consumed each year in the Portland (OR) metro area. Our observations are that we have lots of opportunity to reduce this number!

Coffee cups are NOT recyclable. This contaminates our recycling stream, contributing to the National Sword restrictions from China. Learn more about recycling rules with coffee cups.
Coffee cup lids can leach dangerous toxins in the coffee. The plastic lids are made of polystyrene, a Grade 6 plastic which is the denser form of Styrofoam

Disposable coffee cups contribute to carbon emissions during production, transportation and disposal. Helping us achieve a successful campaign will help us spread the campaign globally!

In Sept 2018, an online survey was conducted for Metro about recycling. 62% of the residents surveyed were “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that paper coffee cups are recyclable (which they are NOT!). Please place them in the trash, not the recycling bin!

What can be done to reduce cups thrown in the landfill?

You can leverage Recycling Advocates to help reduce the number of disposable single-use coffee cups consumed by Portland metro residents in three ways:

Volunteer to reach out and educate residents, especially those that drink coffee from a to-go cup! Spend a couple hours tabling with us at environmental events, and ask residents to take a pledge to stop using disposables, and stop contaminating the recycling bins with disposable cups!

Volunteer to work with coffee shops to educate and incentive their customers to bring their own reusable coffee cup, or dine-in and enjoy their coffee in a reusable ceramic mug. Nossa Familia Coffee has avoided 9,235 to-go cups in 2018 through education and 25 cent surcharges! See the list of coffee shops already participating in our program! Donate to Recycling Advocates to help us print stickers, window clings, signs, buttons and other campaign materials for display at coffee shops. Check out our Adopt-a-shop program!

This campaign will help make Portland the global leader in reducing coffee cup usage!

To learn more about Recycling Advocates, here are some popular links…

Check out our latest posts and announcements on our campaign, along with recycling and waste management news…