Only one per cent of the 2.5 billion paper coffee cups used in the UK each year are recycled, currently.
The problematic mix of paper and plastic that the vast majority of flat white holders are made out of means that this issue isn't a quick fix of persuading people to put theirs into the correct part of the bin – it's one that is going to take some serious overhaul.
Luckily, science is coming through for us. NextCupCycle are a company who've worked out a clever way of recycling the cups and eliminating some of the volume sent to landfill.
We spoke to Professor Edward Kosior, from the company, to find out how they're doing it – and the stuff we all need to change.
Edward and his colleague Dr Jon Mitchell have invented a material that can be made from the plastic/ paper mix that makes up coffee cups.
"A huge factor that normally makes coffee cups difficult to recycle is the painstaking process of separating the paper and plastic that makes up the disposable coffee cup," Edward says.
"Our resin material, which is blended from paper and plastic, is not just one hundred per cent recyclable but can be re-moulded into other furniture coffee shops can use, such as trays, tables and chairs."
He feels that this project says a lot about our urgent need to change our attitudes about disposable products.
"Coffee cups are not the biggest environmental problem. However, this issue is symptomatic of our mentality. We believe that we can use things and throw them away, and that mentality has to stop. Lets make products from secondary materials, not primary materials from precious resources."
The project is on the up.
While getting investment from big companies (beyond trail phase) is tricky, coffee shops from the UK, Ireland, France and the US are taking interest."Consumers have realised it is improper to throw these things away. Brands are now making an effort to make it a circular process."
It doesn't end with coffee cups.
Our sandwich wrappers can be recycled under NextCupCycle's project, too."It's a great way to give a second life to all the packaging that is thrown away by so many people everyday."
Is this the next step?
For Edward, a positive move would be to introduce a deposit charge for disposable coffee cups.
"There would be no bins brimming with coffee cups, people would value their deposit and endeavour to get it back by returning their cups," he says.
"Every country that has put in bottle deposits, for instance, no longer has them lying around, and has the best recycling materials because they have the funds to afford them."