This Local Recycling Initiative Is Turning Used Coffee Cups Into Everyday Items

Thanks to a grant from the NSW Government, Simply Cups will be able to divert 11 million cups from landfill over the next 12 months.
Libby Curran
Published on November 16, 2018

The zero-waste movement has spawned a whole host of clever recycling initiatives, from workout gear crafted out of rescued ocean plastic to sneaker soles featuring rubber made from used bubblegum and even a whole road made of soft plastics and glass bottles. And now, with the help of a $115,000 boost in funding from the NSW Government, coffee cup recycling crew Simply Cup will be turning millions of disposable coffee vessels into things like benches and parking curbs.

Over the next year, the project will see 110 tonnes, or around 11 million cups, diverted from landfill and upcycled into a range of new products. That's on top of the 2.5 million disposable cups the group has already saved from landfill in the past 18 months. In collaboration with a group called Newtecpoly in Moama, many of these cups will be combined with recycled plastics to create transport control products, like car park stoppers, bollards and kerbing. Newtecpoly also have the capacity to make all sorts of things like outdoor furniture, coathangers and bricks.

The new funding — which comes from the NSW Government's $5.46 million Circulate grant program that aims to divert waste from landfill — will allow Simply Cups, which operates across Australia and the UK, to ramp up its efforts, collecting even more cups from commercial buildings, public spaces, caterers and 7-Elevens in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. The group's the same one behind rCUP — the world's first reusable cup made from recycled coffee cups — which was created in collaboration with 7-Eleven earlier this year.

The Simply Cups collection tubes are currently set up at 340 locations and counting around Australia, including 7-Elevens, Muffin Breaks, office buildings and cafes. To add to that number, you can set up your own workplace or business with them, too — just request a collection over here. And if you want to go one step further, the best way to make sure your coffee cup doesn't end up in landfill is to buy a reusable keep cup.

Published on November 16, 2018 by Libby Curran
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