Coffee cups can now be recycled in blue bins at homes in Toronto

Coffee cups can now be recycled in blue bins at homes in Toronto

Residents can now recycle coffee cups at home in Toronto, after years of being told not to toss these plastic-lined materials in the blue bin.

A new pilot project to recycle the cups launched on Wednesday as part of a phased province-wide plan aimed at expanding the recycling of paper and plastic-lined cups across Ontario by 2026.

While blue bins on the streets aren’t part of the pilot, the city is asking residents to throw their cups in the recycling anyway to reduce confusion.

In order for a cup to be recycled, it needs to be emptied, rinsed and separated from its lid and sleeve, which can also be recycled, and loosely tossed in the blue bin, rather than stacked.

“Our goal is to start collecting this material, see how much we’re getting back, and then use those learnings to start to understand; is there enough capacity and infrastructure in place that we can continue to recycle these cups as we look to expand them across Ontario in 2026?” Allen Langdon, Chief Executive Officer of Circular Materials, Ontario’s common collection system administrator, said.

Ultimately, the goal is to transition from a taxpayer-funded recycling system to one that makes brands like Tim Hortons and Starbucks physically and financially responsible for the cost of recycled materials they supply to the marketplace.

Over the next 18 months Langdon and his team will assess how many containers are recycled and sent to the 40 paper mills across North America accepting these materials. He said the hope is to be able to return the recycled materials to producers so they can use them in new products and packaging, completing the cycle.

“Obviously, having these containers collected and recycled at home is a great first step, but there’s still lots of progress to make, not just in Toronto, but hopefully, across the province,” he said.

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