WATCH: Over 20,000 coffee cups disposed of in Ireland every hour

Single use coffee cups are not recyclable and cannot be put in recycling bins

WATCH: Over 20,000 coffee cups disposed of in Ireland every hour

Declan Breen, Recycling List Ireland Dr Shane Bergin, physicist and assistant professor in Science Education at UCD’s School of Education and Nadia Sakni, presenter, at recording of Recycling List Ireland’s online campaign | Image: recyclinglistireland.ie

A new study has suggested that 22,000 coffee cups are disposed of in Ireland every hour.

Recycling List Ireland said this translates to 528,000 every day or 200 million a year.

It is thought as many as six single use coffee cups are disposed of here every second.

Single use coffee cups are currently not recyclable and cannot be put in recycling bins.

While many disposable cups carry a recyclable logo - which could just refer to the rigid plastic lids and the cardboard sleeves - the actual cup is not recyclable.

General view of Costa Coffee cups | Image: Edward Smith/EMPICS Entertainment

Recycling List Ireland’s Pauline McDonogh said: "As disposable cups are made largely from paper many people believe they can be recycled, but unfortunately this is not the case.

"These cup are lined with plastic polyethylene which is fused to the paper making the cups waterproof but also difficult to recycle.

"Of course single use cups are also contaminated by the drink they contained, which is yet another reason why they cannot be added to the bin of clean and dry recyclables."

"Right now the only way to combat this waste is to reduce our dependency on these single use coffee cups," Ms McDonogh added.

Recycling List Ireland is appealing to consumers to consider using a ceramic cup in their favourite café - or bring a re-useable cup for their take away.

Once a reusable cup has been used more than 15 times, it is more sustainable than a disposable cup.

More than 1,000 cafés are now giving a discount to consumers with a reusable cup. Participating cafés can be found here.

While Labour's environment spokesperson, Senator Ivana Bacik, has called on the Government to ban non-compostable coffee cups.

She said: "The report published today by Recycling List Ireland is an eye-opener to the fact that 200 million non-recyclable coffee cups are thrown away in Ireland every year. This level of waste that cannot be recycled is worrying.

"As well as introducing a levy on takeaway coffee cups, which the Labour Party proposed in our alternative budget, the Government should consider implementing the Waste Reduction Bill which passed second stage in the Dáil in the summer.

"A levy without an overall plan to ban non-compostable coffee cups lacks long-term vision from the Government.

Dr Shane Bergin, physicist and assistant professor in Science Education at UCD’s School of Education; Declan Breen, Recycling List Ireland and Nadia Sakni, presenter, at recording of Recycling List Ireland’s online campaign | Image: recyclinglistireland.ie

"We know there has been a surge in sales of re-usable travel cups which shows that people are changing their behaviour when it comes to takeaway coffee cups. People are becoming more conscious of the waste that paper cups create.

"Many coffee shops are to be commended for introducing biodegradable coffee cups and discounts for those who use reusable cups.

"Minister Naughten has contacted all supermarket CEOs asking them to cut down on non-recyclable plastic, while this is welcome, it does not go far enough to encourage the use of reducing our plastic usage.

"The European Union already has plans in train to ban the use of non-recyclable plastics by 2030.

"We now need to take steps across the board to phase out the use of all non-recyclable plastic completely.

"There is simply no need for it and Ireland, as an island nation, must show leadership."