The EPN ‘Cupifesto’
a manifesto for a world without throwaway cups
Billions of throwaway cups are used globally every year. This is wasteful and harms people, forests, water and the global climate. We call on business leaders and politicians to stop encouraging a throwaway culture by ensuring all cups are reusable. No throwaway cups!
Throwaway cups have a serious environmental impact - it’s as simple as that. Humans have been drinking from ceramic, wooden, metal and other washable cups since the Stone Age. The invention of throwaway cups has resulted in global waste, deforestation and pollution. This is a call to fast food and drinks companies and politicians to ensure everyone has the option of drinking tea and coffee from reusable vessels. Our message is simple – no throwaway cups.
Throwaway cups, whether made of paper, Styrofoam or plastic, are an icon of wasteful resource use, and of the unthinking acceptance of ever increasing volumes of disposable commodities. As the Environmental Paper Network, we draw particular attention to paper cups. The number of throwaway paper cups used globally is astronomical - Betacup claims 58 billion per year, but other sources estimate up to twice as many. According to the Paper Calculator this requires at least one million tonnes of paper, the production of which uses 32 million trees and 100 billion litres of water (that’s 43 thousand Olympic swimming pools) and emits as much greenhouse gases as half a million cars. After causing so much destruction, they are chucked in the bin after only a few sips, and even if they’re recyclable or recycled (which they rarely are), the wastage is unsustainable. The solution is obvious – no throwaway cups.
This can’t be just about personal action. Politicians and business leaders need to take responsible steps towards sustainable paper consumption. We all need to move to the kind of society in which it is unacceptable to manufacture disposable objects that have perfectly good reusable alternatives. It is not acceptable that we drink from single-use vessels instead of beautiful pottery, tough plastic, elegant steel. We need a world without throwaway cups.
The 145 member organisations of the Environmental Paper Network share a Global Paper Vision for sustainable future paper production and use. The first pillar of this vision is to reduce global paper consumption. We
- encourage high utility, low volume paper use;
- proactively work with consumers to educate them to eliminate unnecessary paper consumption;
- and understand and avoid negative impacts from plastic and other alternatives.
The Environmental Paper Network advocates, you guessed it: no throwaway cups.
Join us if you agree.