Here’s What You Should Know About Disposable Cups

Did you know that only 1 in 400 disposable cups are recycled?

Half a million cups are littered, ending up in landfills or cluttering the oceans, both of which damages the environment and the wildlife of our planet.

If you’re concerned about this issue and wondering how you can reduce your carbon footprint while still offering great promotional gifts (or enjoying that morning cup of joe), read on to find out how you can help to minimise the damaging effects of disposable cups.

disposable paper coffee cup

The Cost of Using Disposable Cups

First of all, it’s important to understand exactly how disposable cups are harming the environment and all its living creatures.

You may think that paper cups should be ‘easy’ to recycle, seeing as they are made from paper. However, these disposable paper cups contain polyurethane plastic in their lining to make them waterproof and capable of holding liquid – it also makes their composting and recycling very challenging and rare.

Even paper is not without its damaging effects… many paper cups use virgin paper pulp, which means trees need to be cut down to produce something that will only last the time it takes to finish a drink.

Some of the most alarming statistics regarding this issue are related to the United Kingdom.

A staggering 7 million disposable coffee cups are used every day in the UK, which corresponds to 2.5 billion a year. Hospitals in England alone go ‘through millions of disposable cups every year’ and the number of disposable cups thrown away in the UK are also set to rise by a third in the next 12 years.

Tanya Steele, chief executive of WWF, believes that “we are polluting our world with plastic, suffocating our oceans and overwhelming our wildlife. The amount of plastic which the UK is throwing away is set to rocket by over a million tonnes by 2030 – that’s the equivalent of 87,000 more double-decker buses worth of plastic waste each year.”

It’s clear to see, then, that is a problem we should be tackling now.

Times are Changing

But it’s not all doom and gloom!

Many organisations are taking matters into their own hands to ensure our future is a lot less plastic-focused.

According to Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate and energy at WWF UK, the 5p charge to single-use bags is a great success story, as it resulted in a 90% reduction in plastic bag use. It stands to reason, then, that similar initiatives can have similar results!

For example, Starbucks is adding an additional 5p to the cost of a drink for customers using one of their disposable cups, something that is currently being trailed in 35 stores, while Costa Coffee is offering 25p discounts to anyone who chooses to bring in their own cup.

Pret A Manger are offering customers a 50p discount if they bring in their own mugs, a great initiative that also intends to cut down on the use of disposable cups. The company hopes to ‘help change habits’ with this offer.

Waitrose is looking to remove all disposable coffee cups from their shops by autumn 2018. This effort aims to reduce plastic and packaging and stop the millions of tonnes ending up in landfill. Customers will be asked to use a refillable cup, which is set to save more than 52 million cups a year across the UK.

An Eco-Friendly Alternative

At EMC, we believe that is incredibly important to do our part for the environment and to help protect the delicate ecosystems and wildlife affected by the use of disposable cups.

So, what can you do to help?

Reduce the number of single-use cups, of course!

Travel mugs and reusable coffee mugs are a fantastic way to contribute to a cleaner world, and we offer such a vast range that you won’t lack for choice.

Our fabulous branded drink cups will help you to help the environment and to spread your own message at the same time – what could be better than this?

Well, apart from our amazingly vast range, we can create a tailored solution for you as well; so, if you have a specific event or themed gift in mind, we can help. From bamboo to enamel and metal, we also offer a wide variety of materials that you and your clients will love!


By offering reusable cups, your customers will be able to enjoy fantastic discounts at the coffee shops we mentioned (and more we didn’t talk about) and your branded message will still get across. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you wish to learn more about our spectacular range of travel mugs – or the great benefits it can give you.

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