As 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year, MPs have finally called for ‘drastic action’ to tackle the growing concern over our inability to recycle them. The so-called ‘Latte Levy’ would see around 25p added to a standard cup of coffee, with the proposed tax used to improve reprocessing facilities.
This was not news to Clear Architects, we have had this problem in our sights for a long time now. Though a tax will no doubt reshape our shopping behaviour, in the same way as the levy on plastic bags has done, recycling plants is not the only answer, and we should look at cleverer ways of re-using our waste products. A ‘latte levy’ is not necessarily the solution.
Our Coffee Cup House was an innovative low-cost starter home that was highly commended by Grand Designs‘ Kevin McCloud in a 2017 national competition. The design utilises insulation panels made from recycled coffee cups and encourages sustainable construction.
“We were shocked to discover that only 1% of takeaway cups are recycled. So we decided to develop a build concept that employs used shredded coffee cups as insulation between timber frames, and stacked cups wrapped in a waterproof membrane as rainwater pipes.
The design incorporates lots of other recycled materials and green technologies that prove our buildings of the future can create a more sustainable environment for us all to live in. We continue to explore this as a solution to the problem.” Melanie Clear, Founder & Director
“This was a radical design which might form the basis of a home that could utilise other recycled materials, for example, by using old car tyres to form the foundations.”
Kevin McCloud, Grand Designs presenter and judge
Clear Architects are continuing to explore the uses for recycling coffee cups in building products.