Where Exactly Does the Coffee Cup Go?

Carson Ransom ⟩ Business Intern


Each time we recycle, we save our planet little-by-little. By extending the lifespan of products, we save trees, reduce water usage, and emit fewer pollutants in the environment. Did you know that the average person produces 600 times their body weight in waste in their lifetime? To put this shocking reality into perspective, your average Joe contributes about 120,000 pounds to landfills. Astonishing, right? We can diminish this bleak figure and preserve our planet by recycling efficiently and effectively: do more and better with less.

Where exactly does the coffee cup go? In the trash or recycling? Recycling etiquette can be confusing with varying guidelines everywhere. Here are some general rules of thumb for recycling. Remember, you can always check with your local government when in doubt. 


The first step when recycling is to separate materials that can be recycled from those that cannot. Common recyclable materials include cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, and other metals.


  • Remove all external components including plastic wraps, labels, foam peanuts, and other packaging materials.
  • Keep cardboard dry and free from food waste. Wet cardboard can be recycled but weighs more, making it difficult to transport.


  • Paper recyclables include magazines, catalogs, letters, brochures, and cereal boxes.
  • Remove all plastic liners and flatten boxes.
  • Non-recyclable papers include tissues, carbon paper, and wax paper.


  • Rinse bottles with water to eliminate odour and remove food residues.
  • Label removal is normally not required as glass bottles are either crushed or burned when recycled (practices may vary from region to region).
  • Avoid fractures as broken bottles may be ineligible for recycling.


  • Check to see if the plastic is indeed recyclable. Common recyclable plastics and their respective identification numbers (located on the container’s bottom with three encircling arrows) include:
    • #1: Soda bottles, cooking oil containers, and peanut butter jars
    • #2: Milk jugs, drink bottles, bleach bottles, and other liquid detergent bottles
    • #3: Bottles for household cleaners and powder detergent containers
    • #4: Food packaging and shrink wrap
    • #5: Butter and margarine tubs, yogurt containers, bottle caps, and straws
    • #6: Foam cups and plates, packaging material, disposable cutlery, foam egg cartons, and coffee cups
  • Remove plastic lids and rinse with water to eliminate odour and remove food residues. Crushing plastic containers can help preserve storage space.


  • Rinse cans with water to eliminate odour and remove food residues. Cans can be crushed to compact.

Recycling is a simple way to preserve the environment by repurposing resources and consuming less. However, success depends on the contribution and participation of community members. Let’s all do our part in creating both a hygienic and sustainable lifestyle. Happy recycling!






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