A Bumper Year for Recycling Innovation

Simply Cups and Muffin Break promote coffee cup recycling at shopping centres.

Over a billion disposable coffee cups end up in Australian landfill every year. With China no longer an option to outsource the world’s waste, new Australian solutions are emerging.

Simply Cups is Australia’s leading coffee cup recycling program. Founded by sustainability specialist Closed Loop, Simply Cups has diverted more 3 million disposable cups from landfill in less than 20 months. Paper-based cups contain a thin layer of plastic, which make them unable to processed using traditional recycling methods. Closed Loop and their partners uses break-through new technologies to upcycle disposable cups into new products.

“The recycling industry is innovating rapidly, and today anything can be recycled,” said Robert Pascoe, Managing Director at Closed Loop. “We can now recycle paper cups and other hard to recycle plastics to create roadside curbing, bike lane separators, car bump stops, and that’s just the beginning. Australia needs to transition to a circular economy, and we’re helping our partners to get there.”


Does upcycling seem too good to be true? Take a visit to Vicinity Shopping Centre in Broadmeadows. There you can find 270 upcycled car bump stops made from recycled material using Polywaste technology.

Each car bump weighs 11kg and contains 1kg of coffee cups and 10kg of plastics, including plastics extracted from the Yarra River. Upcycled car bumps are more flexible than concrete versions, which means they won’t crumple over time.
Simply Cups upcycling car park bumps infographic with muffin break


Muffin Break franchises can be found in over 200 shopping centres around Australia, including Vicinity Broadmeadows. Muffin Break is also one of Simply Cups’ program partners, and help fund the expansion of the program.

“Muffin Break have a strong focus on sustainability, and we believe all businesses including Muffin Break and shopping centres have a responsibility to minimise the amount of their waste that goes into landfill,” said Natalie Brennan, General Manager of Muffin Break. “We encourage all shopping centres to do their homework and get involved with the Simply Cups program. We want to help shopping centres throughout Australia to better understand the program and realise the benefits, which include cost savings in waste management and landfill costs, and the opportunity to supply their centres with upcycled material.”