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Can you recycle coffee cups?

Here in Australia, we love our coffee. In fact, it’s estimated that 1.8 billion hot drink cups are used each year in Australia.

Can coffee cups be recycled?

Coffee cups can be recycled with a dedicated recycling program, such as Simply Cups. Simply Cups will recycle any type of paper cup. Find a location to recycle your coffee cups here.

However, coffee cups and all other paper cups cannot be recycled through traditional kerbside recycling. The most common reason that coffee cups are not recycled is due to their waterproof lining, usually plastic or plant-based. Other reasons include the shape and weight of the coffee cup in sorting facilities.

empty coffee cups that can be recycled

How can I recycle my coffee cup?

You can recycle your coffee cup at public collection locations. These cups are recycled with Simply Cups. It should be noted that it’s not just coffee cups that can be collected – you can also recycle:

  • Take-away soft drink cups

  • 7-Eleven Slurpee cups

  • Take-away ice cream tubs

  • Compostable or biodegradable cups

  • Any brand or type of paper cup!

The Simply Cups program continues to evolve and work with the latest technologies to recycle cups and create new and innovative products. Find out more about our products made from cups here.

Are compostable cups better?

There are other self-proclaimed ‘environmentally friendly’ options on the market (like ‘compostable’ or ‘biodegradable’ single-use cups), but it’s a little-known fact that there are very limited composting facilities that will accept these items across Australia.

Even though compostable coffee cups are made using plant-based materials, it does not necessarily make them better for the environment. Find out more about the difference between compostable and biodegradable cups here.

For compostable coffee cups to be safely composted, they need to be taken to specific composting facilities (of which there are very few in Australia). Realistically, it is unlikely that your compostable coffee cup will end up in a composting facility as there are very few collection points for the general public, and most facilities only accept a very small percentage of ‘compostable’ packaging (less than 10% compared to food waste).

What can I do to help?

Reusable cups are the best option

The best way to help would be to have your own reusable cup to reduce your single-use footprint. If possible, bring your own cup, or sit down in the café and use a ceramic cup or mug. Only use disposable cups as a last resort.

Recycle cups with Simply Cups

You can start collecting your cups at your home or office and drop them off at your convenience. Find your closest collection location here.

Use reusable cups in the office

Having a few reusable coffee cups in the office (or even mugs) are a great reminder to use your own reusable coffee cup for your daily coffee run. You might even get a discount from the café!


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