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Nup to the cup: Most Australians now support ban on single-use coffee cups

More than half of all Australians would support an outright ban on disposable coffee cups, according to a new survey showing widespread opposition to single-use plastics.

Australians use as many as 1.8 billion disposable coffee cups each year, meaning the nation’s caffeine habit has considerable consequences for landfill.

A YouGov survey of more than 1,000 people found 61% of Australians would back a ban on single-use coffee cups which use plastic linings and cannot be recycled by ordinary means.

The results suggest public support may exist for a crackdown mirroring the elimination of single-use plastic bags and drinking straws.

Before any real-world ban, Australians say they are already trying to cut down on their plastic usage.

Just over half (51%) of respondents said they carry a reusable water bottle or cup, replacing disposable options.

Coffee cups are not the only item causing concern.

Some 57% of survey respondents said they would back a ban on coffee machine pods, which are often made of recyclable aluminium.

Similarly, 57% would support a ban on plastic condiment sachets, and 56% would approve if plastic food wrappers and plastic-coated cotton buds were banned.

The data — released to coincide with Earth Day 2024 — also shows community concerns over the use of plastics in general.

A sizeable 78% are concerned about the use of plastics in Australia, with 38% listing themselves as very concerned.

For many, those worries start at home: 21% of respondents put themselves down as “very concerned” about plastic use in their own household.

Just like coffee drinkers reach for reusable cups before a trip to the cafe, Australian businesses like Zero Co. and Thankyou offer refillable household cleaning containers they say cut down on single-use plastic consumption.

Around 44% of Australians would also support a ban on plastic bubble wrap and cling film.

By David Adams,

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