Hot beverage cups still a ‘top blue bin offender,’ city says

Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto

Published Thursday, March 14, 2019 5:49PM EDT

Last Updated Thursday, March 14, 2019 5:53PM EDT

Despite “no coffee cup” signs across the city, many hot beverage drinkers seem unaware that their cups cannot be placed in the blue bin.

While portions of a hot beverage cup, such as some lids or cardboard sleeves, may be recyclable, the cups themselves are not.

According to the City of Toronto, hot beverage cups are one of six “top blue bin offenders.”

The plastic lining used inside the cups make the product difficult to sort mechanically in recycling facilities, the city says. They also cannot be recycled at conventional paper mills, as the lining does not pulp and can cause clogging.

“Every material that is recyclable has to have someone who wants to purchase it or it’s not recyclable,” Matt Keliher, general manager of Solid Waste Services said.

The city also says there is no third-party recycler that is willing to accept the plastic-lined paper cups that so many coffee shops use.

Many hot beverage drinkers say the recycling symbol on the lid of their cups makes it appear as though the whole item could be placed in a blue bin.

“You’ve got the symbol right there saying the whole thing is recyclable,” said one Toronto resident.

“They all have a recyclable sign on them,” another person said.

The city has started posting “no coffee cup” signs directly on recycling bins to clear up any confusion. Officials are also encouraging drinkers to take a travel-mug to reduce the number of cups that will end up in the trash.

Other top blue bin offenders include food and organic waste, containers with leftover food inside of them, clothing and textiles, black plastics and electrical cords. The city also warns that coffee pods used in coffee machines, including those labelled as “recyclable” must be disposed of in the garbage or returned to their respective retailers.

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Natalie Johnson

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