Where Do The Paper Cups Go? Is It A Paper Cup Or An Environmental Tragedy?

The amendment of the "Beijing Regulations on the Management of Municipal Solid Waste", which is the first domestic regulation that regulates the behavior of garbage in the form of legislation, has attracted much attention. Paragraph 1 of Article 26 in the Regulations is amended to read: "Catering business units and food distribution service providers shall not proactively provide disposable tableware to consumers, and shall set up eye-catching signs." This also means that the Regulations Once approved, businesses have the responsibility and obligation to actively reduce the use of disposable supplies.

However, in our daily life, with the rise of take-away and take-away models, the use of disposable tableware and disposable paper cups is still large. So, are catering companies ready for the new regulations that may be introduced? Urban environmental rivals: flooding of disposable tableware


The reporter came to a chain restaurant and ordered a beef rice set, which included a drink. When the reporter asked if he could use his own cup, he was rejected.

During the visit, the reporter found that there are very few merchants that allow consumers to use their own cups. Even if they are allowed, they must use the paper cups in the store and pour them into the consumer cups. The paper cups still cannot be reduced.

McDonald's restaurant clerk: If everyone came to tell us this, we don't need to order this cup. We have our standards. Take a well-known international fast food chain company as an example, it has 5,910 stores in China. According to reports, each store sells nearly 1,000 cups of beverages per day, so the average daily use of disposable paper cups reaches 6 million. Based on this calculation, the number of disposable paper cups consumed in one year is expected to reach 2 billion. Take a well-known international coffee chain as an example. It consumes 4 billion paper cups every year and needs 1.6 million trees to make pulp. The greenhouse gas emissions from making these disposable paper cups are equivalent to the emissions of 30,000 cars for one year. Garbage collection station: Wet paper cups are not recycled

A small paper cup has to pay such a large environmental price. So, in the case of large-scale production and use of disposable paper cups, can these paper cups be recycled? The reporter interviewed some consumers about how to dispose of used paper cups. Most consumers said that they throw them directly into the trash can, and only a small number of consumers would dump the liquid in the cup and put them into a recyclable trash can. The reporter went to several waste collection stations in Beijing and found that recycling personnel also have different attitudes towards the recycling of different paper cups: wet paper cups, not recycled; dirty paper cups, not recycled; clean dry paper cups, which have recycling needs.

The paper cup gives us the impression that it is made of paper and should be recyclable, but the people who recycle the paper are not willing to collect it. Why?

Professor Liu Jianguo, School of Environment, Tsinghua University: In order to improve its anti-seepage performance and strength performance, we put a layer of plastic film on it, and those plastics will seriously interfere with the recycling of paper. It turned out that there is a film in the paper cup, which is a high-molecular material called polyethylene and a kind of plastic, which can prevent leakage. Said that the recycling of disposable paper cups is time-consuming and labor-intensive and takes up no place to make money, so the recycling enthusiasm is not high. Due to the high cost of recycling, paper cups can only be incinerated in the end.

Shen Fengwu, general manager of Beijing Environmental Sanitation Group Garbage Recycling Company: The kitchen waste of wet waste will contain a part of paper cups, which will be sent to the incineration plant for burning after fermentation. Experts said that because paper cups contain plastic, dioxins are produced when plastics are incinerated, so garbage incineration should minimize the burning of harmful substances. When to say no to disposable cups?

Many companies have stated that if they can solve the front-end sorting problem and reduce costs, paper cup recycling has market prospects. So who should be responsible for the recycling of disposable products such as paper cups? Xue Tao, deputy dean of the E20 Joint Research Institute of Peking University School of Environment: The product itself should be designed to facilitate recycling, and the use of composite materials should be reduced. In the past economic development model, China has formed a large number of production, consumption, and abandonment of disposable products. Experts advise consumers to change their minds and reduce the use of disposables.

Professor Liu Jianguo, School of the Environment, Tsinghua University: One strategy that disposable paper cups should adopt is to "use as little as possible" and avoid using it at the source. If used at home, it can be used multiple times to extend its life. Transform to source reduction and recycling.