Claim: Plastic Coffee Cup Ban Might Increase Methane Emissions

Essay by Eric Worrall

Should coffee just be banned? Having fought hard to ban plastic coffee cups, Aussie greens have realised solving plastic pollution with compostable cups might increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Why there’s concern this state’s ban on plastic takeaway coffee cups could have unintended consequences

One state is implementing a ban on takeaway coffee cups that are used widely across the country, but waste reduction advocates say the plan may not have its intended effect.

  • Western Australia’s takeaway coffee cup ban comes into effect from 27 February.
  • An estimated 1.84 billion single-use cups are used by Australians every year.
  • Compostable coffee cups can still be sold but advocates say the infrastructure to properly process these cups is not accessible.

Western Australia is set to ban certain cups normally used for takeaway coffee as part of ongoing 

efforts to stamp out single-use plastic


From 27 February, the cups — which are also widely used by cafés across Australia — will be banned from being sold in WA.

While much of the body of the coffee cups are made of cardboard, they are usually lined in plastic so the liquid doesn’t make the cup soggy.

But those advocating to reduce waste are encouraging people to use reusable coffee cups where they can, as the compostable alternatives may not be as environmentally friendly as people had hoped.

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Of course, reusable food products are not as hygienic as disposable, so all these superbugs greens fear are more likely to be transmitted by say accidentally touching a drink dispenser with a contaminated reusable cup.

There is only one solution – reusable coffee cups will have to be made of silver. Silver has well known anti-bacterial properties, and does not pose a significant environmental hazard or greenhouse threat. Of course, silver is a good heat conductor, so they might need to wait for the coffee to cool down before drinking.

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February 15, 2023 10:10 am

Should be interesting what unintended consequences this dictate causes.

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
February 15, 2023 11:11 am

Yes indeed…governments just need to get out of the way and let us get on with our lives.

Reply to  Alastair Brickell
February 15, 2023 3:01 pm

But that is the reason for their existence in the first place.

February 15, 2023 10:39 am

Greens in particular and leftists in general, just aren’t happy unless they are banning something.

Steve Case
Reply to  MarkW
February 15, 2023 1:39 pm

Liberals aren’t happy until you’re not happy.

Reply to  MarkW
February 15, 2023 7:49 pm

That is how nazis be like.

Alastair Brickell
February 15, 2023 10:58 am

Burn them all! Plastic or compostable.

High temperature incineration or waste to energy (WTE) is the solution. One of the few chances to get double uses from what we use…disposable cups help protect our drinks from contamination and then provide energy. What’s not to like? Australia and New Zealand need to get serious about WTE rather than fretting over landfill consequences.

Reply to  Alastair Brickell
February 15, 2023 12:48 pm

Sometimes the energy consumption from collecting, transporting and processing the waste for the power plant might be net energy positive but probably not often.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
February 15, 2023 12:48 pm

Hey! Holes in the ground make great places to put things you don’t want. Its not like they will be going anywhere if you take reasonable, know precautions.

Reply to  Alastair Brickell
February 15, 2023 2:16 pm

That is what the wood burner is for fairly high temp energy recovery just don’t burn PVC

Reply to  Alastair Brickell
February 15, 2023 7:52 pm

You misunderstand. burning waste to make energy works. Nothing that works can be supported by the toxic greens. In Canberra, the toxic greens banned plastic drinking straws, so they were replaced with cardboard ones. They were so horrible that they immediately had to line them with plastic.

February 15, 2023 11:06 am

In BC small stores are now prohibited from providing a plastic bag, but the grocery chains can still provide them for a small fee. How else to get the cheapest bin liners?

John the Econ
February 15, 2023 11:24 am

News to environmentalists: The fact that we exist impacts the environment in some way.

Reply to  John the Econ
February 15, 2023 12:49 pm

Right now the drive to totally extinct humans is fairly small — for now.

Reply to  AndyHce
February 15, 2023 2:18 pm

Isn’t that what extinction rebellion is all about, they want to make us extinct? It’s certainly the endpoint of their policies.

February 15, 2023 11:32 am

For the past 10 years there has been many carbon/green house gas exposes on everything from raising animals for meat to coffee cups. Yet not one word about the dangers of fermentation. Think of all the carbon dioxide released fermenting wine, beer and spirits let alone, fermenting corn into alcohol to add to gasoline. So there you have it! What better reason to become a teetotaler and seek to impose a global prohibition on alcohol. Would this fly in Australian…. nope! Do you think it would fly for the mean greenies? Think no more beer for climate activists or fine French wine for the elites who are bankrolling them. Think of it! The entire world gets sober to save the planet LOL

Reply to  JC
February 15, 2023 1:35 pm

Nummies fight over cups.

Reply to  JC
February 15, 2023 3:03 pm

In your nightmares!

Reply to  barryjo
February 16, 2023 7:38 am

All the crazy since Feb 2020 is a living nightmare.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  JC
February 15, 2023 3:25 pm

This is not unlike going after gas stoves but ignoring cigarettes and other forms of smoking tobacco (and smoking other substances – which may or may not be legal depending on your location)! The old saying “strain at a gnat to swallow a fly” comes to mind. So not OK to have a gas stove in one’s home but fine and dandy to smoke in said home….
IMO it boils down to money. The tobacco (and alcohol) lobby has too much power, while makers of plastic cups and businesses that make use of them do not.

Booze and tobacco cause a whole host of illnesses and cost the medical system tons of money, but because politicians are bought by them they are untouchable.

Bullies always pick on those that are weak or are perceived to be weak, but if you are able to buy the bully off, that is another way to get him to leave you alone!

Reply to  Lee Riffee
February 15, 2023 7:56 pm

That’s what the Romans did, until the Germanic tribes decided to go directly to the source. Another way to put it, is that appeasement is feeding the crocodile in the hope that it will eat you last.

Reply to  Lee Riffee
February 16, 2023 8:11 am

From a very large macro view, the current CC narrative management that WUWT is responding to is highly programmatic and lacks logical consistency. You can learn a lot about the program and the people who are bankrolling it by trying to map out their narrative comprehensively and consistently so you can see the gaps. The gaps tell you a great deal.

The lists below are not complete and I do not claim total accuracy…. trying to give an example

OK to target
Polar bears
Antarctic glacier calving
Sea ice
Sea level
Heating homes with wood
Gas stoves
Cups of all kinds
Gasoline Cars
Off grid
Rural life
Family land ownership and family farming
Human Fertility
The weather
co2/methane, carbon
Anything to scare or worry people
Anything to instill a sense of foreshortened future in people

Not Ok to target
Urban life
Localism and nano-farming.
Alcohol as fuel
Alcohol in general
Chemical industry both industrial and agricultural
Oil for fertilizer
Drugs (street or pharmaceutical
New Age religions
Failure of solar
Failure of wind
Nuke power (wavering issue)
Cars in general (individualized modes of transportation)
Strong advocacy for public transportation
Pottery, china
campfires and smores
Air Travel
Luxuries of all sorts…cigars, like Caviar, Giant Yachts etc
Air conditioning (this is a wavering issue in the CC narrative)
Composting (produces co2 and methane like no tomorrow
Fabric or textile industry
The Sun
Space travel
Info/digital Tech industry
Propaganda/mind control as an industry
New wave eugenics
Biotech industry

michael hart
February 15, 2023 11:34 am

Seems like a new variation on an old story.
I recall when McDonalds were harangued into changing plastic styrofoam containers for their (delicious) big Macs into processed cardboard. Then somebody published something claiming that the cardboard degraded even more slowly in the environment.

I don’t take a side on which claim is correct. The recurring lesson is that it doesn’t matter. Enviro-crazies will make any and every claim they can reach for. Personally, I like Big Macs and don’t consider McDonalds to be a threat to the planet any more than most corporations. I have never thrown their packaging down on the street out of pure laziness. Littering is the problem, not plastic.

Peta of Newark
February 15, 2023 11:35 am

Usually = High Density Polyethylene
(I think and certainly not PET, it just shrivels under hot water)

Let the cups float out to sea. They will become miniuature islands/reefs/rafts and all sorts of bacterial slime will love the free ride=
Up in the sun. With Oxygen and CO2 as required.

The cup itself becomes their food via Saponification – massively speeded up by the actions of wind, sun and waves snapping open the long carbon chains and so letting Oxygen fix itself to the broken ends.
The plastic then becomes Water Soluble.That’s what Soap is

The green slime and algae will do all the things that Greenies salivate about = capture CO2, decrease extinctions, provide food all the way along the chain.

To all intents, recover long lost deserts – that is what The Big Oceans are, once you go beyond the continental shelf
Our relentless fixation with cleanliness is going to destroy everything.

February 15, 2023 11:47 am

Bunk not worth the time to debunk it. All this endless bunk is mildly entertaining. So is all the effort to debunk it. Please give me a science story….. one where the bunk is interwoven with some complexity.

February 15, 2023 11:48 am


Didn’t read any further.

Joseph Zorzin
February 15, 2023 12:03 pm

I like the art work. I’m confused about this- are there many people doing the excellent art work that tops the stories or just one or two people? I suggest the artist should be recognized.

February 15, 2023 12:32 pm

Surely, Ziltoid The Omniscient will NOT stand for a ban on coffee!

Dave Fair
February 15, 2023 12:46 pm

This is what you get when you let English Lit majors run the world. “If it feels good, it must be a great policy.”

Reply to  Dave Fair
February 15, 2023 4:08 pm

Hey, when this English lit major is supreme dictator of the world the eco-nazis will be rounded up and given away free for use as speed bumps.

Ale Cop
February 15, 2023 1:21 pm

I recommend always carrying a cup in your pocket, in case you want to have a coffee at any time of the day

Reply to  Ale Cop
February 15, 2023 7:39 pm

Some people might think you’re happy to see them.

February 15, 2023 1:48 pm

We need a category of “news” called, Vanishingly Small. As in, “if there is an effect, it is Vanishingly Small.”

It’s a little nicer than, “There’s nothing there, you idiot!”

February 15, 2023 2:37 pm

You just can’t make this up, can you? And you would think by now that the greens would have enough IQ to realise all their mad schemes have unintended consequences. I guess not.

February 15, 2023 5:24 pm

Imagine being so deluded that you believe that a thin plastic lining on your coffee cup is a big evil that must be dealt with to avoid the collapse of humanity.

Meanwhile, SE Asia, India, and China are dumping their plastic into the ocean. They account for what, 90%+ of the plastic in the ocean? Your thin plastic lining is beyond meaningless.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mantis
Reply to  Mantis
February 15, 2023 5:53 pm

Also, plastic decomposes eventually. A thin film of plastic surrounded by organic material will decompose much faster. They basically singled out the least important possible source of plastic pollution for their strange religious sacrifice ritual.

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  Mantis
February 16, 2023 4:12 am

The madness of crowds!

February 15, 2023 6:20 pm

I recommend that these worthies attach fart-o-meters to their posteriors and self-flagellate when they emit greenhouse gases.

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  Shoki
February 16, 2023 4:11 am

and then add an automatic ignition system.

John Hultquist
February 15, 2023 7:05 pm

Medications and supplements are sold in hard plastic bottles. When finished,
do you throw them away (caps on or off?), or do you recycle them?

February 15, 2023 7:46 pm

Again. Quinn’s 1st law. “Liberalism always produces the exact opposite of its stated intent.”.

February 15, 2023 7:50 pm

Silver also makes a very good weapon to use against werewolves and greenies.

Joao Martins
February 16, 2023 6:47 am

Typical ignorant leftism: first, ban or forbid; then study the matter; then, eventually (NOT always!) turn their “principled” position upside down.

Gunga Din
February 16, 2023 6:48 am

There is only one solution – reusable coffee cups will have to be made of silver. Silver has well known anti-bacterial properties, and does not pose a significant environmental hazard or greenhouse threat. Of course, silver is a good heat conductor, so they might need to wait for the coffee to cool down before drinking.

Silver thermos bottles!!

February 16, 2023 7:05 am

This is interesting but a natural outcome of the fever around recycling etc. In my city, we have gone all in on recycling including composting at the cost of about $300 annually on my property tax bill. Plastic bags are gone from shopping but people still need plastic bags for garbage (the city do not allow loose garbage in the bins) so we now buy them – and the difference is nothing. Plastic straws on gone (i have a stockpile that will last me until I die), and we now suck through ineffective paper straws. I don’t use my big blue bin during the winter because there is no place to put it where it will not get cover by snow buildup but I still pay for the ‘service’.

I spent some time in Central America in January and was appalled at the amount of garbage – particularly plastic drink bottles – on the roads and in stream/river beds. I asked the guide why and she was very easy about the whole thing – when the rainy season comes, all of the garbage in rivers/streams is washed out to the ocean, So I’m sucking on paper straws, expending energy to sort and recycle yet stuff is still be poured into the oceans by poor countries, And the guide was very blunt – we are poor and cannot afford garbage pickups, She also pointed to almost every residence having a burning garbage pile – lots of black smoke coming from those.

So what as improved with the focus on recycling – most of the stuff tossed into blue bins is not profitable to recycle – the only thing that has value is white bond paper, which most comes from businesses, NOT households. In Saskatchewan we have a good program that has deposits on beverage containers which is refunded when the container is returned to a depot (it has estimated to take about 90% of beverage containers out of the garbage) – but all the other stuff – glass, cardboard etc has no market for so it sits in the landfill – all separated nicely but not recycled.

Coming back we passed through Miami and the bus driver taking us to the airport noted that some celebrity had purchased a local golf course thinking it could be redeveloped into housing and he would make lots of money. But no, since the golf course (very green) was built on a landfill that was about 30/40 feet deep and the cost to removed would be huge,

Clearly no foresight on anything by our betters

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  maureen1955
February 16, 2023 4:59 pm

I too happen to live in Saskatchewan, a land locked province.

I’ve often thought that the only way our waste is getting into the ocean is via the blue box program, since that stuff is shipped overseas to countries who then have to decide if it is a good quality resource.

If some of it isn’t recyclable at all, I strongly suspect they just dump it into the ocean.

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