The paper cup problem
Every day millions of us decide to take away our coffee in a paper cup. At least we think it's just paper, whereas actually it isn't. Most paper coffee cups are coated with a plastic resin for durability, which cannot be separated out in a standard recycling mill. Only two factories in the UK currently have this separating facility but can deal with only a tiny fraction of the seven million cups currently disposed of in the UK daily.
So the millions of Britons who responsibly place their coffee cups into recycling bins are actually under a misapprehension. Over 2.5 billion cups effectively thrown away each year (that's 2,500,000,000, folks) are not recyclable. Since they are therefore likely to end up at best in landfill sites, or at worst littering our streets and rivers, the impact is horrendous.