Whitmill Introduces Reusable Cups As Part Of Eco Active Goals
11 January 2019
As part of Whitmill's commitment to the States of Jersey's Eco Active initiative, we are continuously aiming to reduce the amount of plastic, notably single use plastics, that is used in and around the office.
At the end of 2018, staff were all issued with the new Whitmill pens which are bio-degradable and long lasting. Whitmill is starting 2019 off with another push towards our Eco-Active goals of reducing single use plastic by giving all our staff a reusable Whitmill take-away cup.
The aim of introducing these reusable take-away cups is to cut the amount of single-use cups used by our team members and which end up in the kitchen bins after only one use.
In a recent report from the Environmental Audit Committee, figures showed that in the UK we use 7 million disposable coffee cups every day – that’s 2.5 billion every year. However, the problems with coffee cups go beyond their sheer numbers; one of the biggest issues with disposable take away cups is their ability to be recycled. Take-away cups are technically recyclable, however due to the complicated way in which they are produced, there is no facility to recycle the cups on island and there are only three specialist facilities in the UK.
Single use take away cups are made largely of paper and are lined with plastic polyethylene, which is tightly bonded to the paper making the cups waterproof and therefore able to contain liquid. The difficulty of recycling coffee cups is increased by the fact they are contaminated with drink. This means cups cannot be recycled at standard recycling plants, and must instead be taken to the special facilities. According to the report, the reality is that less than 1 per cent of coffee cups ever end up being recycled.
Unrecycled plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, meaning lots of it ends up impacting the natural environment. Gradual breakdown of plastics results in tiny “microplastics” that can be ingested by animals, and chemicals that are potentially toxic for various creatures, including us. While plastic is a major concern, the paper component of take-away cups also has environmental impacts as many paper cups that are downed and disposed are made from virgin paper pulp. This means tress are cut down to produce a cup that only ends up being used for the length of time it takes to drink a coffee. Add to this the carbon footprint of coffee cup manufacturing and distribution for these single-use items, and it is clear that disposable coffee cups in their entirety have a major impact on the environment.
This is why we have decided to offer our employees reusable take away cups. We would also like to encourage more Jersey businesses to offer incentives to customers, just like the likes of Pret a Manger do in the UK – they offer a 50p discount to customers who bring their own cups. Raising awareness of the nature of disposable coffee cups is important; one of the report’s key recommendations is that companies must take responsibility for the impact of their cups. This is what Whitmill is doing for our first Eco-Active goal of 2019.