Takeaway coffee cups are not normally accepted within household recycling in the UK collection schemes. They can be recycled in food and drink banks at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre. Some coffee establishments now offer a returning cup scheme and will supply a reusable cup that you can take back.
Paper cups are biodegradable, which means that they are less harmful to the environment as they degrade at a much quicker rate than plastic counterparts. Both plastic and paper cups can be used from recycled materials.
Studies have shown that takeaway coffee cups can take up to 30 years to decompose as they often have a plastic lining that takes a long time to decompose. This time could be longer as other plastics are often found in takeaway cups.
Paper cups do contain trace levels of BPA due to their plastic sleeves. These levels are not unsafe, and you can drink from them without causing harm.
The properties of takeaway coffee cups vary depending on the brand and supplier, but most coffee cups consist of a mix of paper and plastic.
It depends on the type of paper cup that you have, but you will find that some paper cups can be washed out and reused whilst the integrity of others crumble when washed. To be safe, it is best to avoid reusing paper cups as the structure of the cup could collapse when hot liquids are poured into it.