Our friends at Responsible Cafes have unveiled yet another reason to ditch disposable paper cups.
“We have always had an inkling that microplastics leach into hot water from plastic lined single-use coffee cups, however this study really confirms our biggest fears. This report signifies just another great reason to support reusable cups that are safe for your health and the health of our planet.” Jo Horsley – Responsible Cafes
OUR BIGGEST FEARS HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED. THE DATA IS IN. WHEN HOT WATER IS POURED INTO A PLASTIC LINED CUP… WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENS TO THE CONTENTS OF YOUR SUPER SMOOTH AND DELICIOUS LATTE?
In a recent study by Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, researchers set out to evaluate the degradation of plastic lined films in single-use cups. They found that 4 out of 5 disposable paper cups were lined with HDPE grade of plastic. In the experiment, scientists poured hot water (85–90 °C) and left the samples for 15 minutes.
Using fluorescence microscopy they discovered that approximately 25,000 micron-sized microplastic particles leached into one cup of water (100 ml). The analysis also found the presence of heavy metals—iron, chromium, and cadmium in particular—in the cup’s plastic lining. The report suggests that the ingestion of microplastics, ions, and heavy metals regularly while using these single-use products can expose us to potential health risks in the future, like cancer and infertility.
According to Cleanup Australia, 2,700,000 paper coffee cups are thrown out every day! Volunteers report that 10% of the rubbish they identify is the paper used to make coffee cups and are shocked to find out that they are plastic lined – which means they are potentially even more damaging to our environment and health.
Our friends from BioPak say that up to 90% of single use hot beverage cups end up in landfill – equating to around 60,000 kg of plastic per annum. So it really is time to take action!
If your cafe is on the fence about starting up reusables cups then this could be your moment to rethink your actions – if not for the environment then for the health of your customers.
You can read the full report here in the Journal of Hazardous Materials