Choose to refuse disposable coffee cups!
In Canada, an estimated 1.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used yearly.
Disposable coffee cups are extremely difficult to recycle. Although the outside is made of paper, the inside of the cup is lined with plastic (polyethylene or polylactic acid) to make it waterproof.
Photo: Chelsea Rochman, U of T trash team
Since disposable coffee cups cannot be recycled, they accumulate in the landfill or end up as litter in the environment.
The outer paper layer will decompose over time, but the inner plastic layer and plastic lid will remain for generations to come.
Plastic pollution is detrimental to environmental health. The plastic lining used in disposable coffee cups contains chemicals that have proven toxic to aquatic bugs (Almroth et al. 2023).
Disposable coffee cups even leach microplastics and chemicals into the beverage you consume. A study filled paper cups with hot water and found that 25,000 microplastic particles had leached into the beverage in just 15 minutes (Ranjan et al. 2021).