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Coffee Cup Lids

Posted on 4 September 2018

The Biology Environmental Performance Group cut waste for the University by working with Commercial Services to end black plastic coffee cup lids on campus

It's gradually becoming common knowledge that it's not as easy to recycle your takeaway coffee cup as people may have thought. It's the mixture of paper and plastic in their inner lining designed to make them both heat and leakproof that causes difficulties. Not only that but lids can cause problems too, especially if they are black. 

Every year around 1.3 billion black plastic trays get used (including black plastic coffee cup lids) and most of them end up in landfill according to Greenpeace UK. This is because black plastic can not be recycled in recycling centres. The main pigment used to colour black plastic is not detectable by the near-infrared (NIR) optical sorting equipment because it does not allow the light to pass through. 

The Biology Environmental Performance Group (EPG Group) have been looking into recycling in the Department and the waste that gets generated from vending machines.  

The group had noticed that the coffee vending machines in Biology produce black plastic lids and unfortunately black plastic can not be recycled.  The EPG Group have worked with Jon Greenwood (Commercial Services) and Darren Carter from Upton Group Ltd (the vending machine company) who have agreed to use a different white lid which can be recycled. 

This is a huge breakthrough for the University and will significantly contribute to the reduction of our carbon footprint.  

For more information on the Biology Environmental Performance Group plesae contact Jenny Purcell jenny.purcell@york.ac.uk

For more information on Sustainability or the Universities Carbon Management Plan please see here.

More information on recycling black plastic.