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22nd Jul 2022

This ‘jaw-dropping’ animation shows how many coffee cups are sold every second in the UK

Jack Peat

After 14 seconds the pile would stretch as high as Blackpool Tower 

A jaw-dropping animation has been created to show exactly how many paper coffee cups are bought in the UK – every single second.

The stack of coffee cups increases as the seconds tick by – overtaking the height of a giraffe in just half a second and towering over Big Ben after 10.

Before 14 seconds is out, the pile would stretch as high as Blackpool Tower, and if you wait half a minute, you’ll see it grow taller than the Eiffel Tower.

It comes after a study of 2,000 adults, by hygiene and health company Essity, found Brits buy more than 3.2 BILLION drinks in paper cups every year – just under two billion of which won’t make their way into an appropriate recycling bin.

The average person purchases five paper cups every month, a total of 269,652,450, across the adult population.

But only 39 per cent of those, who buy from fast food chains or restaurants, will make the effort to dispose of their cups properly.

The remaining cups – 1,973,855,934 a year – will either go into general waste bins, be left on tables, in cars, or dumped on the floor.

A proportion of the cups left on tables or the floor would make their way to recycling due to environmentally-conscious staff picking them up and disposing of them responsibly.

The shock findings show half of the 2,000 adults polled think it is too inconvenient to try and find a suitable recycling point, and often easier to deposit in the nearest general waste bin.

A spokesman for Essity, which also created the tool, said: “These are huge numbers, both in terms of how much people are buying and consuming, and how many paper cups aren’t making their way to the appropriate recycling points.

“It’s really important people know their used paper cups can be recycled.

“We can turn them into new Tork products like the paper towels you use when visiting a washroom.

“If they’re not recycled then they end up in landfill and that has a huge environmental impact.”

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