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Plastic coffee lids are also accepted in about half of recycling facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada, so you need to look up if they are accepted in your area. With plastic coffee lids, it is important to distinguish if it is accepted based on the color of the lid. Even if a program accepts this type of plastic, they may not accept black plastic. Many sorting machines cannot identify black plastic due to the dark color, so these items can end up getting passed through.
In addition to the invisibility of this material to the sorting machines, the black color makes it difficult to reconstitute into a new material. A company that would potentially be using this plastic for new products, would have trouble adding dye to a batch of plastic that already.
Cardboard sleeves are the only sure thing when it comes to coffee on the go. Cardboard is accepted everywhere for recycling, so no matter what other parts of your coffee cup can be recycled, you should be recycling the cardboard sleeve. It may seem insignificant because it is so small, but with around 600 billion coffee cups being produced worldwide every year, there are potentially billions of cardboard sleeves to go along with them. With so many disposable coffee cups being unrecyclable in so many programs, it is important to take advantage of this.
If you happen to get a cardboard drink carrier, make sure you add that to your recycling too. Another way to be more sustainable would be to use your own reusable cup. Many coffee shops will allow you to bring your own travel mug for their drinks. And of course, you can bring your own coffee mug to keep at the office. While there is no clear cut answer to each type of disposable coffee cup, the big take-away should be that the most important thing you can do when trying to recycle any type of disposable cup is to look up whether your program accepts it.