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Grounds for concern over coffee cup recycling?

United Kingdom – The Recycling Association in the UK has warned that efforts to recycle more hot drinks cups could lead to increased contamination when recycling cardboard or newspapers and magazines.

When people throw away such cups, they will assume they should be recycled in existing, separate paper recycling bins and containers, it is argued. The Recycling Association’s Simon Ellin comments: ‘We need to be very careful that more recycling of cardboard coffee cups does not lead to more contamination of the rest of the paper recycling stream.’

Even when emptied, these cups will contain a residue of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, all of which will act as a contaminant if mixed with other types of cardboard, office paper or newspaper, according to Ellin. ‘The plastic lids may also get mixed in with other sources of paper, requiring more sorting and impacting on quality,’ he adds.

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