Levent Konuk / Shutterstock.com Paper Cups Put in Garbage Levent Konuk / Shutterstock.com Local coffee shops offer discounts if you bring your own reusable cup (shown below): Coffee Bar: $0.30 off all day 4-6pm happy hour: $2 any size drink in your own cup Wild Cherries: none Dark Horse: $0.25 Starbucks: $0.10 Tuff Beanz: Charges for a smaller size than what fits in cup. Plain coffee is just $1. Not Just Paper Paper cups can’t be recycled because they’re not just made of paper; they’re usually also lined with plastic or wax to prevent the liquid from leaking through the cup. Recycle the Sleeves as Cardboard The sleeves are recyclable and should be disposed of with other cardboard products. Lids Are Plastic Coffee cup lids are made from plastic. Find out what to do with plastic lids. Straws Are Plastic Straws are generally made from plastic. Find out what to do with straws. Keep Out of Compost Paper by itself is compostable, but if you compost used paper cups, they’ll likely leave behind microplastics in the soil, thereby contaminating the finished compost. Ways to Reduce Save $0.10 Bringing Your Own at Starbucks Bring your own travel mug or tumbler to Starbucks, and you’ll get 10 cents off your cup of coffee. Did You Know? Why Don’t Most Starbucks Recycle Cups? As of 2013, Starbucks offered recycling in 39% of its stores. You’d think it would be universal, but there’s no great recycling technology for coffee cups yet, so many commercial recyclers don’t accept them, leaving Starbucks with nowhere to send the cups. Read more about Starbucks’ efforts to recycle and reduce waste here. Could Paper Cups Be Transformed into Biofuels? University of Manitoba researchers have been studying whether cups could conceivably be made into biofuels. So far, the results are pretty promising.