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Coffee Cups, Sleeves & Lids – Recyclable or Garbage?

As of 2016 the City of Calgary changed the recycling options expanded recycling to coffee sleeves and cups.

Coffee Lids

Yes it’s true, you must put coffee cup lids in the garbage. Even if they have a recycling symbol on it. The issue is that the lids are too small and light to be sorted properly at the Calgary recycling facility. The lids just blow around and actually cause issues within the recycled goods processing plant.

Paper cups & sleeves

You can recycle the cups and sleeves in your blue cart or community recycling depot. Some coffee shops in Calgary (e.g. Purple Perk) are now using the Earth Cup or the Planet + cup which is 100% biodegradable. The lining of these cups is made from plant based materials vs. a wax coating.

The cup is paper, why can’t it be composted?

Paper cups have a plastic lining to prevent the container from becoming soggy. The City of Calgary requests to ensure we are creating the highest quality compost possible to not add this item to the green cart.

The Earth and Planet + cups are biodegradable BUT they still need to be recycled in the blue bins and NOT in the compost green bin. The composting process in Calgary cannot accommodate the biodegradable packaging from restaurants like take out containers and cups. The biodegradable packaging takes too long to compost compared to food waste and disrupts the composting process.

Reusable cups are a much better approach

The best option is still to avoid needing a cup altogether by bringing a reusable cup (plastic or ceramic) or dining in and drinking your coffee out of a ceramic cup in house. A great option for a reusable cup is the cups by Ecoffee, KeepCup, which are made from Bamboo and other sustainable materials such as glass and cork.

Tip: Did you know you will save $0.10-0.20 off your coffee in most coffee shops by bringing your own reusable cup?


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