Compostable Coffee Cups

The Issues:

The Packaging Forum estimates that in New Zealand 295 million hot and cold cups (including coffee cups) are consumed every year and over 90% of coffee cup brands are supplied by its members. The industry group notes a significant growth in the number of brands of compostable coffee cups in the marketplace and has commissioned research from Beyond the Bin to identify where compostable coffee cups can be processed in New Zealand. Alongside this research, they are also investigating whether there are end of life solutions for the range of cups on the market (compostable and traditional plastic/ paper cups).

In 2015 Beyond the Bin conducted a survey of 98 composting facilities and found that 12 facilities were able to process event waste (compostable food packaging and the food it contained from events). The Packaging Forum engaged Beyond the Bin to renew the research to find out how many facilities could now process compostable food packaging waste not restricted to events.

The Solution

Identification and logo

  • Define clearly who can use a logo and the process surrounding permission granting
  • Work with WasteMINZ and any other relevant industry bodies on identification standard to ensure consistency and acceptance of a standard across the nation
  • Support research into mislabelled (as bio/degradable/compostable) products

Product innovations consider how compostable packaging can be altered to meet a home compost standard, this would allow for products to be processed in all commercial composting processes

Trials with more composters facilitated by WasteMINZ

More communication with composters through WasteMINZ regarding the packaging industry and compostable packaging

Offer support for existing waste educators around New Zealand and events with waste education programmes, to collaborate on a combined message of what waste goes in which waste stream

TPF could support investigation/ investment into standalone compost units as an option for small scale local solutions

REVIEW - "Availability of New Zealand Compost Facilities to process compostable coffee cups and food packaging">>  

SUMMARY - "Accessing the Availability of composting facilities for events in New Zealand">>

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What’s the optimum solution – compostable or recyclable?

Lyn Mayes from The Packaging Forum and Kim Renshaw from Beyond the Bin, presented a report to the Waste MINZ conference in November 2017 discussing:

Tackling coffee cups: Innovation, identification and investment

Read the presentation>>