Takeaway Coffee Cups: How to Recycle them Properly

Single-use coffee cups can now be recycled in Australia!! Since launching in January 2019, we’ve been able to divert over 150,000 single use coffee cups from landfill!

This was about four months worth of takeaway coffee cups I’d collected from my family to take to our local coffee cup recycling station.

Did you know: 3 billion single-use coffee cups are sold in Australia each year. That’s 60,000 kilograms of plastic waste from coffee cups alone ending up in landfill each year.

Fun fact: One coffee cup alone can contaminate a bag of recycling material. Result: everything is sent straight to landfill.

Takeaway cups contain a polyethylene lining which prevents the liquid from being absorbed through the paper cup. However, it’s this lining that makes them non-recyclable.

Something about plastic takeaway coffee cups and their lids

According to Plastic-free Mermaid;

This plastic lid is not just any plastic lid. It’s is #6, polystyrene. This is a DISASTER for human health because there are MANY peer-reviewed scientific studies showing that polystyrene leads to CANCER. Just to quote one published in Oxford University Press, called ‘Styrene Exposure and Risk of Cancer’ by James Huff and Peter F. Infante: “Long-term chemical carcinogenesis bioassays showed that styrene caused lung cancers in several strains of mice & mammary cancers in rats & styrene-7,8-oxide caused tumours of the forestomach in rats & mice & of the liver in mice…

Based on how plastic behaves we KNOW this lid was gonna leach its carcinogenic and estrogenic toxins into my cup via TWO pathways. First, we know plastic leaches toxins when HOT, so this lid snapped atop my steaming cup—it’s 100% leaching. Second, plastic is lipophilic (attracted to fat), so the nut milk choice makes my drank susceptible to the toxins once over because all those toxins head straight to that fatty milky goodness.

Also, these lids are designed to have a lifespan of the time it’s snapped atop our cup to the time we down our coffee on the way to work. So while its’ use is quick it will be on Earth long after my great great great great great great grandchildren. Seeping toxins & breaking into microplastics that will linger in our air, water, food, and bodies for eternity.

The problem with disposable single-use plastics is that they really have no benefit to us or the planet (they actually cause HARM to both).

Once finished with the coffee cup, bring it to a coffee cup collection point near you for recycling.

Detpak have recently developed a technology that removes the plastic lining from takeaway coffee cups, leaving behind the paper which can be easily recycled!

RecycleMe™ lining enables hard-to-recycle packaging to be recycled. Unlike traditional plastic lining, the next-generation RecycleMe™ lining is easily removed from paper packaging when processed at a recycling mill.

This means that RecycleMe™ packaging can be recycled into paper through your kerbside collection or via a dedicated Collection Point. And paper can be recycled up to seven times. This is true recycling.


Simply Cups also collect and recycle takeaway coffee cups now. They use new technologies to mix used cups with other materials to produce new products. You can set up a coffee cup collection with them, where they come and collect cups from your workplace, school or an event!

Where to Recycle Coffee Cups

Participating 7-Eleven stores around Australia have joined up with Simply Cups to recycle single-use coffee cups, coffee lids and drinking straws. You can bring your empty coffee cup to a 7-Eleven store for recycling.

Places in Sydney that recycle coffee cups include:

  • Westfield Hurstville: They’ve installed three coffee cup separation station bins across the centre;
    • Level 3: The Eatery – near Soul Origin
    • Level 2: Near Cicco Bar
    • Level 4: Rooftop Dining Area – near The Shed
  • Macquarie Centre: They have coffee cup recycling stations on;
    • Level 1: Blue level car park entry
    • Level 2: Near Woolworths
    • Level 3: Near H&M
    • Level 3: Near TGI Fridays
  • Westfield Sydney: New coffee cup collection points are located on;
    • Level 2 Tower side: In front of Review
    • Level 2 Tower side: Next to ZARA
    • Level 2 Tower side: In front of Unimoni
    • Level 3: In front of Little Sparrow
    • Level 3: In front of Prada
    • Level 3: Next to ZARA
    • Level 4: In front of Ignazia
    • Level 5: Next to YogaBar
    • Level 5: In front of Adanos Grill
    • Level 6: In front of Max Brenner
    • Level 7: Next to Babylon

How to Recycle Coffee Cups

To recycle your coffee cups:

  1. Separate the lid from the coffee cup (and place lids into the lid section)
  2. Tip any leftover coffee into the tip section (middle section)
  3. Place the coffee cup into the trash section (outer section).

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Be sure to check ingredients to make sure there is no risk of an allergic reaction.

Have you recycled single-use coffee cups before? Share in the comments below.

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa


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