Is my Takeaway Coffee Cup Recyclable?

In the hectic morning rush, it’s not unusual to see someone briefly pause over a recycling station, pondering if their takeaway coffee cup is recyclable.

It’s no wonder people are confused with various takeaway cup designs often promoting ‘Green Symbols’ and environmental images, perhaps designed to make us feel less guilty about forgetting our reusable cup!Takeaway Coffee Cups

It’s also clear that people want to do the right thing. Recent installations of our new Recycling Stations have resulted in an overwhelming response. People are highly engaged with these Coffee Cup programs, both discussing the program, and then diligently separating their lids, cups and liquid.

Unfortunately, this passion for recycling, in the absence of a dedicated recycling stream, often results in takeaway cups being a significant contributor of contamination, reducing the value of the recyclables, or in some cases resulting in the entire recycling streams ending up in Landfill, given it’s simply not economical to sort the recyclables from the contamination.

So why are cups not recyclable?

Coffee CUPS are lined with a thin coating to make the paper water proof. Most commonly this is polyethylene (plastic), and so as a result the cup cannot be recycled with other paper items through common technology. The small amount of plastic, combined with the paper outer lining, also means it can not pass through common plastic recycling procedures to be recovered. As such placing the cups into the recycling stream can do more harm than good, by contaminating the other paper recyclables.

The good news is that with ongoing investment in new technology, this is slowly changing. Already a number of councils in ACT and QLD have contracts with recycling facilities who recycle coffee cups as part of the recycling stream. So, it’s best to contact your waste collection contractor to confirm, and if it doubt throw your cup in Landfill, but take the lid off first!Recycling Takeaway cups

Coffee LIDS on the other hand are made of thicker plastic alone, and so can be recycled. Check for a Plastics Identification Code stamp (1–6) to confirm, and then make sure to take off your lids, and place them in the Recycling stream.

What about the biodegradable alternatives?

Biodegradable Cups replace the plastic coating with a plant based coating, often wax. This ensures they are organic and will take less time to breakdown compared to plastics. It’s also less harmful for the environment during production, eliminating the mining and burning of fossil fuels associated with plastics. If your cup does state it’s Biodegradable, check for the Australian Certification Compostable logos. This certification ensures that the material is completely plastic free, so free from micro-plastics and contains no harmful residue as it breaks down. If Australian Certified Compostable, you can be confident that these cups will breakdown with organic waste in an industrial composting facility. As such they should be suitable for a dedicated organics stream, but again check for information on the Organics Waste bin, and  don’t place them into your  recycling stream.

Coffee Cups recycling

Join the Reusable Cup Club!

What’s the best solution?

Pause and enjoy a coffee in a ceramic cup as the rest of the world rushes by, and of course, join the reusable cup club, for those moments in which you just can’t stop!

And if you see a huge Coffee Cup Recycling Station, be sure to recycle!


Coffee Cup  Separation Station


Posted in Co-Mingle Recyclables, Council, Dry Waste, In the hospital, In the public space, In the workplace, On the campus, Organic Waste, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Compost-A-Pak® Landfill & Recycling Liners

Recycling UnitsMany of our customers are aiming to reduce their waste to Landfill, and after recyclables, and organics have been diverted, plastics are usually the most common contributor.

A powerful way to reduce this waste is to lead by example and review internal purchasing practices. Sustainable alternatives, or reusable options, are available for a range of items such as plastic cups, straws, single use plastic pens, plastic folders, and of course, the environmentally harmful plastic liners, which wrap it all!

Compost-A-Pak® lineColoured Binsrs are well known as a completely plastic free, Aust. Certified compostable liners which is manufactured to our unique minimum UM standards, providing the durability needed for commercial organisation. After partnering with a number of customers and universities, who are aiming to minimise Landfill and go ‘Plastic Free’ we are excited to be now manufacturing our liners in the Australian Standard Waste colours for Recycling (yellow) & Landfill (Red) with differentiated print, in soy based compostable inks of course!

So what are the benefits of Compost-A-Pak® Coloured Liners? 

Improve cleaners efficiency when collecting multiple waste streams. Compost-A-Pak® Coloured Waste Liners ensure cleaners can collect a range of waste streams concurrently, and then easily identify and separate waste at the main collection point, emptying precious recycling material into the larger units for collection. Once used for collection and transportation, the liners can then be composted. 

Landfill Bin LinerReduce contamination. The bright Australian Standard Waste Colours make it really easy to identify red General Waste from yellow Recycling throughout the BOH collection and transportation processed, minimising contamination, 

Eliminate plastics with a sustainable, convenient alternative. Compost-A-Pak® products are made from waste corn. We choose corn, as it’s an annually renewable resource, unlike trees which Recycle Bin Linercan take years to mature. Our corn is sourced from international GMO free regions with high levels of natural rainfall to minimise irrigation, and we deliberately select third grade corn. This corn is essentially spoilt corn, and is unsuitable for human or animal consumption. Using the natural polymer derived from corn, blown film bags are then manufactured on purpose built equipment, which is reengineered to minimise electricity consumption. Compost-A-Pak® liners are then printed with soy-based, non-toxic printing inks. Once used, Compost-A-Pak® Green Bin Linerliners are Australian Certified compostable, so they can be thrown out with your organic waste, and will breakdown completely in organic composting facilities with no harmful residue through compost, all the nutrients can be returned to enrich the environment.

Interested to know more about the story of Compost-A-Pak. Check out our new website or join us online. 

If you would like to trial a sample of our liners, simply email us with the size of your bins

Posted in Co-Mingle Recyclables, Compostable Bags, Council, Dry Waste, In the hospital, In the public space, In the workplace, On the campus, Organic Waste, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

CDS, a unique chance to support local charities

In SA last year, the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) raised almost $60 million annually for charities and community groups. It’s a powerful testament of the success of the program, which also improves litter and recycling rates.

NSW is the third state to announce Container Deposit Scheme CDSthe implementation of the program, with QLD, ACT and WA to follow. According to the 2015-16 National Litter Index, 49% of litter volume is comprised of beverage containers, and as more states get involved, it’s hoped that South Australia’s fabulous return rate of approx. 77% and landfill diversion rates of 80% can be mirrored.

After almost 40 years in operation South Australia’s program certainly provides some great case studies into how the program can be successfully leveraged by business and charitable organisations.  Container Deposit Scheme

Many smaller businesses have installed collection points, and collect containers to raise funds for programs, sometimes as simple as the Christmas Party. All it takes is a few Change Champions to promote the program, a collection station, and volunteers to collect and deposit the containers for refunds.

On the other end of the scale, predominant locations such as major airports, and commercial buildings have chosen to partner with charity groups, and through such programs have raised in excess of $50k a year. There are a few keys to success for such larger programs.

CDS Recycling Bin* Clearly visible deposit stations, which highlight the charity organisation which is benefiting from the program. This is a great way to promote both the program, and also the charitable donation of the organisation installing the bins. Such charity programs have been shown to increase both customer and employee engagement.

* CDS Collection Bins are place strategically alongside other Landfill bins to minimise contamination.

* Streamlined BOH collection processes. Having a dedicated dock area, and a simple MGB swap over system, minimises any manual handling and additional workload for cleaning and facilities staff. Charity groups such as the Scouts then pick up the MGBs at set timeframes, which also works to minimise the organisation waste collection costs. Win – Win!

Regardless of the size of your program, even starting with a small employee lead program, the implementation of the CDS presents a great opportunity to raise funds to support charities, improve environmental outcomes, minimize waste collection costs, and at the same time, with a well-run program, you might find employees and customer engagement improves!

We would love to hear any of your experiences with the program, and tips you may have.

If you are looking for a collection unit, just contact our team for details about our Recycling Can, MultiSort Ranges or customised solutions. 



Posted in Co-Mingle Recyclables, Council, Custom Services, Dry Waste, In the public space, In the workplace, On the campus, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Litter… It’s getting personal!

Outdoor picture bins

Research suggests a person’s emotional attachment to a location may influence their propensity to litter. It’s a theory being tested with a new wave of National Park Bins, leveraging local images and local messages to emotionally connect with the community.

Litter is a costly challenge, with larger states such as NSW spending an estimated $300 million annually¹. This expenditure is largely focused on litter management rather than prevention, (approx. 95% of costs), however even this distinction is a difficult to make, as littered places attract litter, and in fact are less likely to be used and enjoyed by the community. ²

It’s little wonder so many people are passionate about litter, particularly within iconic community spaces. This passion is spreading! Many areas are reporting a reduction in litter, linked in part to the growing community awareness of the environmental risks, and you don’t have to look far to see this trend, from the increasingly common ‘collected litter’ posts on social media, to the amazing individuals, like my neighbours, who so often walk along our gorgeous lake to collect waste.Attractive Recycling Bins

It’s this community spirit that innovative councils such as Newcastle City Council and Hornsby Shire Council are tapping into, with a new wave of National Park Bins designed specifically with local images and messages to connect people to the community spaces they are in. Such an approach to litter prevention is reinforced by behavioural studies, which conclude that littering behaviour is influenced, not only by the more commonly known determinant such as the amount of existing litter, convenient placements of bins, the ‘obtrusiveness’ of bins (Eg colour or startling design), polite signs asking people not to litter, and the design of the space to minimise out of view areas. There is also strong agreement in the litter prevention research that “The more community involvement and social engagement, the more effective the strategy.’³

The freedom to customise the National Recycling Park Range has allowed Newcastle City Council and Hornsby Shire Council to integrate a number of these findings into both their urban design and bin infrastructure, with the aim to minimise litter and so enhance the communities enjoyment and use of iconic community areas.

Newcastle has developed a series of dual stream stations, introducing recycling to the foreshore and beach areas. Each recycling station in the series is completely unique, with local photos from the area in which they are placed. Connected via a popular walk, all the bins in the series do share a common campaign message linked to these iconic images- “Why we love Newcastle”,  followed by the footer ‘How we show it”, pointing to the Do The Right Thing image. As a passionate Novocastrian, I’m a little bit bias, however not only do these bins look great, (Or ‘obtrusive’ using the research terminology), they certainly make me feel engaged to this campaign, through my connection to the images of loved community spaces, and locals doing the activities that makes us all love Newcastle.

Hornsby Shire Council in a similar way have invested in bins which can certainly be described as ‘colourful and startling’, and in Litter Campaigna similar way they have leveraging local images with the aim of connecting to the local community. The council had professional photographs taken in the refurbished mall area of individuals littering. These images were overlayed with ‘Hey Tosser, It’s a dirty look’ followed by a message about litter ‘getting noticed’, which aims to reinforce that visibility of litter, which is proven to influence behaviours.

Both these programs are obviously investment in litter management, however their thoughtful design ensures they play a key role in litter prevention.

If you would like to know more, check out the portfolio of designs on our website and Build Your Own Bin. 

Outdoor Recycling Stations

1. Price Waterhouse Coopers: Packaging Cost Benefit Analysis report p. 6-7
2. Clean Up Australian cigarette brochure April 2009 Clean Up Australia
3. Lessons from the litter-ature, A review of New South Wales and overseas litter research. 2013. NSW Government. Office of Environment & Heritage.  *Studies reviews by Huffman et al (1995), Curnow et al. (1997) and BIEC (1999)

Posted in Council, Dry Waste, In the public space, Litter, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Innovative Coffee Cup Separation Station

Coffee Cup Recylcing

In Australia most us start the morning with a coffee. It’s a habit many of us love, including the addicted team at Source Separation Systems, however the downside to our addiction is approximately three billion takeaway coffee cups, which are placed in bins across the country annually. Stuck without our Keep Cup, many of us also finish our coffee cup hovering over the Recycling Bin reading the confusing marketing jargon on many takeaway cups and pondering, is this takeaway cup recyclable?  Many do end up in recycling, often growing to be the key point of contamination in the recycling stream.

The highly visible, fun Coffee Cup Separation Station has been designed to address these contamination risks, and increase the percentage of waste that can be recycled.

ItCoffee Cup Separation Station‘s proving that coffee drinkers overwhelmingly want to do the right thing, as they diligently separate their coffee cups, lids and liquid. Many are also highly engaged, and the topical Coffee Cup Separation Station is providing a great starting point to discuss wider organisational sustainability targets.


The Coffee Cup Separation Station was initially designed as an eye-catching installation, to improve community awareness around single use takeaway coffee cups. When placed alongside busy recycling stations in public areas such as coffee shops, in busy shopping precincts, building foyers and at lift lobbies, it’s a great way to limit the possibility of the dreaded take away coffee cup ending up in the recycling stream.  It’s also a very highly visible and topical unit, helping to spark conversations about recycling, and to promote more generally the sustainability focus of the business into which is it placed.

Recycling Coffee Cups

CUSTOMISED unit designed for prominent airport location

Internally, the Coffee Cup Separation Station features a fully sealed base which minimises the risk of any spills, an important consideration in public places. An internal frame, hides two 80 Litre Compost-A-Pak liners, which are completely plastic free and Australian Certified Compostable (AS4736), one for the lid stream and one for the cups. There is also 7 litre Kitchen Caddy in the frame to capture any excess liquid. Convenient to use, the lid simply lifts off for cleaning or access, and the liners and Kitchen Caddy can then be completely removed with the collected lids, cups and liquid. After transportation, the liners can be thrown in with food waste for composting, making this unit even more sustainable.


Interest to know more, contact our team to discuss… mid-morning is always best, after everyone has had their first caffeine hit!

Coffee Cup Separation Station

Posted in Co-Mingle Recyclables, Council, Dry Waste, In the workplace | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment