It’s important to know what you’re getting with your coffee cup. In Australia, plastic coffee lids can be difficult to recycle and may end up in landfill. In fact, over a billion coffee cups end up in landfill every year. Your best bet may be to switch to a reusable lid to avoid contributing to the issue. So, let’s look at how recycling works in Australia and how coffee drinkers can help!
What are Plastic Coffee Lids Made Of?
First, we need to talk about what plastic coffee lids are made of. If you take a look at a plastic coffee lid, you’ll see a number on it. That number is a plastic identification code, and it tells you the type of plastic the lid is made from. Plastic coffee lids are commonly made from plastic #6, which can be difficult to recycle in Australia.
What is Plastic 6?
Plastic 6 refers to polystyrene (PS). It’s a hard plastic that’s used in many household items. This type of plastic can be found in most take away containers, packing peanuts, and disposable items such as coffee lids. It’s known to be difficult to recycle in Australia, but it depends on your council.
You may be asking yourself why companies use polystyrene if it’s difficult to recycle. Well, the answer is that it’s usually cheap. They can buy plastic coffee lids in bulk and have an endless supply.
Is Plastic 6 Recyclable in Australia?
If you’ve looked down at your morning coffee and see the number 6 on it, don’t panic! While plastic 6 is commonly known as something you can’t recycle, you may be able to. Your council decides if you can, and you may need to take it to a special facility. Most coffee lids and other food packaging are made from expanded polystyrene, and Australia has been working to make recycling options for this type of plastic more accessible.
Currently, plastic 6 cannot be recycled in your yellow bin at home. Another thing to consider is that items with food on them can’t be recycled, so even if you try they may end up in a landfill. For now, your safest bet is to avoid plastic 6 while companies work to step away from single-use plastic items.