Recycling program turns takeaway cups into kerbs

A new recycling solution taking shape in New South Wales is turning coffee cups into kerbs.

Simply Cups aims to recycle 11 million coffee cups into benches and parking kerbs with help from the NSW circulate grant program.

With an extra $115,000 in funding from the circulate program, Simply Cups hopes to divert 110 tonnes of cups from landfill within a year.

Used coffee cups are collected from commercial buildings, caterers and 7-Elevens in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

READ: Funding boost for Victorian recycling sector

The circulate grant program supports projects that keep materials out of landfill.

This year, a project to use mushroom biotechnology to divert textile waste from landfill and a research project looking at using paper mill waste to rehabilitate dams with acid drainage issues have also received funding.

In the past five years the NSW government has awarded $407m to more than 1160 projects that are now recycling 2.39m tonnes of waste each year.

Environment minister Gabrielle Upton said recycling coffee cups is a high visibility issue that is being worked on.

“The more coffee cups we recycle, the less that are littered – and that’s a good thing for everyone,” said Upton.

“Making useful products from waste or recyclable materials is one of the ways NSW is working to be ahead of the game in its response to China’s National Sword policy, which has effectively closed the Chinese market to Australia’s recyclable waste,” she said.

Circulate is a six-year, $5.46m program designed to fund innovative, commercially oriented industrial ecology projects.

Circulate supports projects that will recover materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill, and to instead use them as feedstock for other commercial, industrial or construction processes.