By: Shelby Weaver, Student
Recycling is not a new idea – in fact, Canadians are getting better at it, recycling 255 kilograms of garbage per person that would have ended up in landfills (1). However, there is some misunderstanding about what exactly is recyclable. In 2017, 52,000 tonnes of waste were mistakenly recycled (2). A major contributor to this confusion are disposable paper cups.
Due to the plastic or wax lining of the cups, as well as the poor paper quality used, take-out paper cups can not be recycled (2).
Because of this, the City of Toronto recommends that paper cups be thrown into the garbage, while the lids and cardboard lining, as long as they are not black, can be placed into the blue recycle bin (2). If the lid and lining are black, they too have to be thrown into the garbage. Considering that disposable cups are frequently used by Canadians, the environmental impact is of concern. In 2010, 1.5 billion disposable cups were used, just by major coffee chains alone (3).
The good news is that there are some things Canadians can do to reduce their environmental impact and still enjoy take-out beverages:
** London Ontario now allows paper cups and lids, even if black in colour, to go into the blue recycling bin, as long as they are empty and rinsed out.
About the Author
Shelby Weaver recently completed her second year at Brescia University College where she is pursuing an education in the Nutrition and Families module. She enjoys many aspects of nutrition, but her true passion lies with food literacy and food security. Shelby has spent the last two years as a Peer Educator with FRESH (Food Resources and Education for Student Health) and has recently become the Professional Representative for SHEA's Executive Team. Apart from school and volunteering, she enjoys discovering new coffee shops and cafes, creating content for her food-related Instagram page, and cozying up with a good book and a cup of tea. Shelby looks forward to pursuing the Professional Home Economist designation upon graduation.