At the Sydney launch of Simply Cups.
Two corporate Australians have kicked off a development in Australia’s bid to remove one hundred million used coffee cups from landfill every year – Melbourne’s iconic Rialto and international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills have started a special collection of coffee cups at their Sydney office on Monday 8 May.
Simply Cups is a recycling program that takes used coffee cups out of the waste stream and blends them with recycled plastic to produce a range of products like pens, trays, decking, outdoor furniture and even reusable coffee cups. For Australia to attract investment for its own local processing plant, Simply Cups needs to collect 100 million coffee cups a year – and for that the program needs corporate Australia to get on board.
A bold corporate example
Rob Pascoe, the driving force behind the program, who has successfully established a similar scheme in the UK, hopes that other corporate Australians will be motivated to join the program and follow the example set by the Rialto and Herbert Smith Freehills.
“We need big business to sign on to Simply Cups so we can quickly achieve the volume we need to justify a local processing plant, and attract the investment needed to build the plant,” Rob says. “I hope that Rialto and Herbert Smith Freehills are inspiration for corporate Australia to sign up to Simply Cups and help us turn waste into a valuable resource.”
Resource, not ‘waste’
Rob Pascoe is the founder and managing director of Closed Loop, an environmental company that offers programs to businesses, such as food waste composting, packaging reduction and waste minimisation audits.
He speaks of the misnomer of ‘waste’ when it comes to the variety of materials we carelessly throw into landfill.
“I hate ‘waste’. Today’s waste is yesterday’s resource, so why don’t we want it anymore?” asks Rob. “We need to start treating waste as a resource, using it again and again rather than sending it to landfill and using up precious new resources.”
Coffee cup collection trials a success
“Australians are shocked to learn that coffee cups aren’t recycled – and there’s a lot of confusion about the recyclability of these cups,” Rob says. “Our trials in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney last year showed people were willing to use the dedicated cup bins and changed their habits quickly.”
Until the Simply Cups target of 100 million is reached, the collected cups will be exported to an offshore processing plant.
The program is encouraging any person or business to request a collection point for their location so that it can quickly achieve the target and move to the next vital stage of this program. By recapturing and reusing these resources locally, the program will stimulate new, innovative industries and create local employment.