05/06/2019 – World Environment Day — auf Deutsch lesen

The 2.8 billion we throw away without even thinking about it

I’m talking here about a new study conducted by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and our reprehensible habit of consuming coffee-to-go cups.


© weixx/stock.adobe.com


It may be convenient but it’s incredibly harmful to the environment.

According to the study, a total of 2.8 billion coffee cups were used in Germany in 2016 alone. That equates to an unbelievable 34 cups per inhabitant per year and about 28,000 tonnes of waste: that’s 18,800 tonnes of paper or cardboard and 8,900 tonnes of plastic, that we just throw away. According to the study, wood, water, plastic and energy are wasted in huge quantities to satisfy a roughly 15-minute indulgence in “to-go” drinks. According to the UBA, disposable cups are a “waste management nightmare” creating 400,000 cubic metres of waste, which would fill around eight million regular rubbish bins. Compared with other paper and plastic waste, this volume of waste may seem acceptable (?), but these coffee cups are unnecessary and they’re clogging up the waste bins in all our public spaces. (Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung 22.5.2019)

What can be done?

Drinking coffee in a café would be an alternative (it’s more enjoyable anyway) or just waiting until you get to work or back home, or to your friends’ or relatives’. Buy reusable bottles or cups, always take them with you, use them and rinse them out again (like we do with plates, cups and cutlery). Become aware of how environmentally harmful to-go cups really are and say goodbye to them forever.