Compostable Coffee
Cup Project

Coffee cups often sit alongside single use plastic bags and straws as one of the common images of the waste created by our convenience-led, consumer lifestyle.

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The Packaging Forum estimates that in New Zealand 295 million beverage cups (including coffee cups) are used every year. This staggering number of throw away cups has led to significant growth in the number of brands of compostable coffee cups being used with the aim of lessening their environmental impact.

This is a good example of companies moving to solve a problem but inadvertently creating other issues such as contamination of recycling bins and compost. This is due in part to the lack of standards around the term “compostable” and the lack of collection and processing infrastructure for these materials.

The Packaging Forum decided to investigate the problem and seek appropriate New Zealand standards for compostable coffee cups.

The Packaging Forum estimates that in New Zealand 295 million beverage cups (including coffee cups) are used every year. This staggering number of throw away cups has led to significant growth in the number of brands of compostable coffee cups being used with the aim of lessening their environmental impact.

This is a good example of companies moving to solve a problem but inadvertently creating other issues such as contamination of recycling bins and compost. This is due in part to the lack of standards around the term “compostable” and the lack of collection and processing infrastructure for these materials.

The Packaging Forum decided to investigate the problem and seek appropriate New Zealand standards for compostable coffee cups.

The project

We asked consultancy Beyond the Bin to identify where and how compostable coffee cups can be processed in New Zealand. We’re also investigating whether there are any end-of-life solutions for the range of cups now being used (compostable and traditional plastic / paper cups).

Beyond the Bin identified 11 facilities able to process compostable packaging in New Zealand and others running trials.

The project

We asked consultancy Beyond the Bin to identify where and how compostable coffee cups can be processed in New Zealand. We’re also investigating whether there are any end-of-life solutions for the range of cups now being used (compostable and traditional plastic / paper cups).

Beyond the Bin identified 11 facilities able to process compostable packaging in New Zealand and others running trials.

The Solution

We have identified a number of key factors that will help find a solution for compostable coffee cups:

Identification

We want to provide clarity for consumers with an agreed industry standard and a logo on cups.

Innovation

Is there a need for new product design and new processes to ensure adequate end of life solutions?

Investment

Are standalone compost units an appropriate option?

Useful reports

  • Availability of New Zealand Compost Facilities to process compostable coffee cups and food packaging VIEW REPORT
  • Accessing the availability of composting facilities for events in New Zealand VIEW REPORT
  • WasteMINZ 2017 Presentation – The Packaging Forum and Beyond the Bin presented a report to the WasteMINZ conference in November 2017 discussing the project VIEW REPORT

Useful reports

  • Availability of New Zealand Compost Facilities to process compostable coffee cups and food packaging VIEW REPORT
  • Accessing the availability of composting facilities for events in New Zealand VIEW REPORT
  • WasteMINZ 2017 Presentation – The Packaging Forum and Beyond the Bin presented a report to the WasteMINZ conference in November 2017 discussing the project VIEW REPORT

Join us and together we will
make packaging waste free by 2025

Coffee Cups