Revealed: That coffee cup you think is recyclable isn’t – none of them are

Even if they are recyclable, a New Zealand coffee cup manufacturer has been compelled to recant claims that they are because recycling facilities do not accept them.

Glopac was the subject of a Commerce Commission probe last year, and the business was formally warned on Tuesday. Glopac’s cups are made completely of paper and are both plastic-free and compostable.

Many throwaway cups include a plastic lining that can’t be recycled in New Zealand at the moment. Because it’s impossible to detect which cups contain plastic and which don’t, “facilities do not accept any hot drink cups to avoid contaminating recycling streams,” according to the commision.

Glopac, on the other hand, claimed they were recyclable on its website and social media, which, while legally correct, the commision stated was possible in violation of the Fair Trading Act.

“Glopac concentrated on the product’s technical ability to be recycled rather than the realities of what will be accepted for recycling in New Zealand and the likelihood that consumers would expect the goods to be disposed of in recycling waste streams when it couldn’t.”

Glopac apparently told the commision that it expected customers would know which products could and couldn’t be recycled, but the statements, as well as the cups themselves, were deleted from its website regardless.

Rawlings stated, “We want to encourage New Zealand businesses to be inventive.”

“However, businesses must carefully consider how consumers may perceive any claims they make about their products while designing new items to ensure that the statements are clear and not misleading.”

Glopac, whose clients include Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Coca-Cola, Nescafe, and KFC, has been contacted for comment.

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