Frank and Honest to use only compostable coffee cups from September

Published by Aoife Cusack on

May 18th, 2018

Frank and Honest will become the first national coffee brand to do away with non-recyclable-single-use cups and use only compostable cups and lids starting from September.

To produce the materials needed for the compostable cups, the Clare based company Cuprint will team up with Ireland’s only compostable packaging specialists Down2Earth based in Cork.

Customers will be able to dispose of their cups in domestic brown bins and they will biodegrade with food waste in less than 12 weeks, says Frank and Honest.

The compostable coffee cups can also be organically recycled in commercial composting facilities around Ireland before being converted into renewable energy or fertiliser.

Coffee has been a growing phenomenon among Irish consumers in recent years. However, its’ growth in popularity has become detrimental to the environment, with an estimated two million throw away coffee cups being sent to landfill every day.

Frank and Honest coffee is available at over 560 Supervalu and Centra stores nationwide, with both supermarket chains also starting to replace plastic bags in the fruit and veg section with compostable ones.

In April, environmental campaigners called on the public to join them in a day of action against excessive supermarket plastic packaging.

The so-called National Day of Action on Plastic Packaging in Supermarkets was targetted at large supermarket chains, such as Supervalu Tesco, Dunnes, Marks and Spencer, Lidl and Aldi.

Public pressure is growing for companies to cut down on their use of single-use packaging Photo: Sorcha McManigan

The “significant move” from Frank and Honest will lead to millions of single-use non-recyclable cups “being diverted from landfill annually” said Minister for Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, TD.

Last year, the Minister called for a tax on all disposable coffee cups in a bid to reduce the volume of plastic waste.

The tax, known as the ‘latte levy’ would have seen a 15 cent additional cost applied to single-use takeaway cups to cut down their use.

However, Minister Naughten recently announced that the proposed levy will not apply to compostable cups due to the large number of retailers moving toward their use on a larger scale.

The Environmental Pillar, a coalition of environmental groups, has however voiced its concern with the Minister’s move as compostable coffee cups are still single-use disposable packaging materials.

The Pillar warned that compostable coffee cups are likely to end up in landfill anyway, as people will likely dispose of them in general waste bins.

They also added that they could end up contaminating recycled paper streams should they be disposed of in recycling bins.

Mindy O’Brien from Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment and coordinator of the Sick of Plastic campaign said it will not work because there are no set standards in place.

“Some coffee shops are doing recyclable, some of them are compostable, some are not, and the average punter when they get their coffee cup doesn’t know which are which,” she said.

“A levy would make consumers think about the packaging and single-use items they use and hopefully encourage them to make choices that would reduce the use of such items.”

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Aoife Cusack

Aoife is a final year journalism and Irish student at DCU. She appreciates the environment, the Irish language and a good cup of coffee.