They might be small, but they sure add up. Disposable coffee cups are a huge irritant for many people where waste is concerned – enough that people would be willing to pay to lessen the load.
In a survey commissioned by the CBC, about 80 per cent of Nova Scotians said they would be willing to pay an extra nickel for a cup of coffee if the disposable cup was recyclable.
We can assume that those who voiced support for such a move are not the bunch who toss them out vehicle windows.
The poll by CBC-Corporate Research Associates Inc. had a sample of 400 people. Only 17 per cent were completely or mostly opposed to the idea. It also attracted more favour from people with post-secondary education and those in higher income groups.
Considering the cost of a takeout cup of coffee – it’s pretty substantial – it would be understandable that people might not be crazy about the idea of paying more, but then a nickel extra on something approaching $2 isn’t a big change.
But there would be technical hurdles. The lining in most cups makes them unsuitable for recycling. That also makes them non-compostible.
There would also be the gargantuan job of sorting cups of varying kinds of material.
But fast food diners are slowly seeing additions to items that are compostible, both in what the food is wrapped in and in some utensils. This isn’t exactly rocket science. In fact, it would be good to see restaurants move to use of all compostible throwaway materials with their orders.
It’s an idea worthy of development. It would require a fair bit of education – as has been underway for the past several years in fast food restaurants that instruct patrons to divide waste among garbage, recyclables and compostibles.
And if that education campaign could also concentrate on the litterbugs we’d be on our way to licking another, related problem.