Single-use coffee cups and their environmental impacts are frequently discussed in the media, through communities and within government. When not recycled or home composted, single-use coffee cups contribute to landfill and add pressure on our natural resources.

Many wonder if coffee cups are banned in Australia, as they are seen as a single-use item that should be banned under the single-use plastic ban.

Currently, coffee cups along with other paper cups that are lined with plastic can be recycled with Simply Cups at over 1,500 collection locations in Australia. Coffee cups cannot be recycled in home or kerbside recycling.

What are the current single-use bans in Australia?

Single-use plastic bans in Australia are defined and regulated state-by-state. The single-use plastic bans were designed to phase out eight problematic plastic products by 2025 under the National Waste Policy Action Plan. These problematic plastic items are lightweight plastic bags, plastic misleadingly labelled ‘degradable’, plastic utensils and stirrers, plastic straws, polystyrene food containers, polystyrene consumer food packaging, microbeads in personal care products.

Single-use coffee cups are not considered one of the eight problematic plastic products. However, as the ban progresses, more and more items are being added to the bans including cotton buds, sauce sachets, plastic coated paper plates and coffee cups.

Image: Coffee cups and other paper cups can be recycled with Simply Cups 

Learn more about the single-use plastic bans here. 

Are coffee cups banned?

There are some bans in place for coffee cups, however banning coffee cups isn’t the only way to reducing coffee cups ending up in landfill.

Coffee cups that end up in landfill are problematic and there is a solution to limiting paper cups ending up in landfill. Any type of paper-based cups can be recycled with Simply Cups. While there are some bans in place, more education and awareness is needed to be create to demonstrate there is a successful and viable solution to recycling coffee cups.

Currently, plastic lined coffee cups will be banned in:

  • SA as of September 2024
  • QLD, currently in discussion
  • NSW, currently in discussion

Plastic lined coffee cups are currently banned in:

  • WA
  • Darwin
  • Hobart

Certified certified home compostable coffee cups are accepted in all states.

Currently, expanded polystyrene coffee cups are banned in:

  • NSW
  • VIC
  • QLD
  • ACT
  • WA
  • SA

Expanded polystyrene coffee cups are allowed in NT until 2025 and in Hobart with no upcoming ban.

Paper-based coffee cup lids are accepted in all states.

What coffee cups can I use?

Next time you purchase coffee cups, consider the environmental impact of your coffee cups. Many cups are marketed as ‘biodegradable’ but this is a vague term, and these coffee cups will not be accepted in the upcoming coffee cup bans.

To get ahead of the game, consider our paper cups which can be recycled with Simply Cups or home composted.

Image: Coffee cups being collected for recycling with Simply Cups

Our paper cups are certified home compostable, support sustainable forestry through the use of FSC Mix material and have an aqueous barrier to provide waterproofing. They are accepted in all states, including WA, SA, NSW and QLD when bans for plastic lined paper cups are in place.

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