International Day of Action on Throwaway Cups


Civil society organisations around the world are taking action on Wednesday 22 March 2017 (23 March in Australia) to show growing consciousness of the need to avoid using throwaway cups, which cause harm to people, forests, water and the climate.

On this international day of action, we invite people all around the world to take a forest-friendly action by choosing to use only reusable cups. Our member organisations are asking fast food and drink companies and politicians to make it easy for us always to drink our tea and coffee from reusable vessels.

Our message is simple: no throwaway cups.

Globally, at least 58 billion throwaway cups are used each year, involving more than a million tonnes of paper.  According to the Paper Calculator, their production requires 32 million trees, 100 billion litres of water (that’s 43 thousand Olympic swimming pools) and emits as much greenhouse gases as half a million cars. Hardly any throwaway cups are recycled.

EPN member organisations around the world are campaigning on paper cups on the international day of action, including the following NGOs in China, Germany, Belgium, UK, USA and Australia: Wuhu Ecology Center – Wuhu City, Anhui province;  Snow Alliance – Xining City, Qinghai Province; Green Henan – Zhengzhou City, Henan Province,  China Green Student Forum –  Beijing,  Green Longjiang – Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province; Green Camel Bell – Gansu; CEPN – Beijing; Robin Wood – Hamburg; Denkhausbremen – Bremen; ARA – Bielefeld; Eco-Develop – Berlin; partner organisations in Freiburg and Tübingen; Reforesting Scotland – Edinburgh; Fern – Brussels; Rainforest Relief – New York; Green America – Washington DC; Stand – Seattle; Markets for Change – Hobart .

Our Cupifesto – A Manifesto for No Throwaway Cups – is available with background information here:

See our full Press Release here.

For more information contact:



No throwaway cups Chinese film from Environmental Paper Network on Vimeo.

wuhu Ecology Center

Green Henan in Zhengzhou City

Snow Alliance

Green Longjiang

Brussels based NGOs

Robin Wood, Germany


ARA, Germany

Various EPN-Members

Stand, USA


Robin Wood’s Campaign on Cups at BackWerk


Robin Wood is a German environmental organisation that has a strong track record on forest campaigning. They have recently run successful actions focusing on Germany’s biggest bakery chain, BackWerk, including street actions and customer education. They are one of the organisations taking part in the international day of action on throwaway cups, on 22 March 2017 (see more here).

The climax of their BackWerk campaign was in November 2016, when four climbers scaled the BackWerk headquarters building in Essen and strung up a huge banner, which said “Tschüss Wegwerfbecher! Kein Müllberg bei BackWerk!” (Goodbye Throwaway Cups! No ‘waste mountain’ at BackWerk!).

Robin Wood’s demands to the company were as follows.

– Use reusable ceramic cups and plates for customers who consume their food and drinks in the bakery, instead of giving everyone throwaway cups.

– Allow customers to bring their own reusable cups, give a discount for this, and advertise this as more sustainable.

– Install or take part in upcoming systems for reusable cups (such as allowing people to take a cup from one shop for a small deposit and bring it back to any other shop).

The company has issued a statement that largely meets these demands.

Good work Robin Wood!

For more details (in German) see here:

Creating Cup Consciousness


In Tasmania, Australia, Markets for Change is gathering support for a world without throwaway cups, through an exciting movement for ‘Cup Conscious Cafes’. These are cafes who guarantee that customers will always be welcome to bring their own reusable cup for a takeaway coffee or tea.

Markets for Change launched their campaign as part of EPN’s international day of action to launch our Cupifesto at the end of September. Peg Putt, director of Markets for Change, said, ‘We all love grabbing a coffee from our local cafe in the mornings, but did you know that most disposable coffee cups aren’t recyclable or biodegradable? In fact, the cost on our planet of our coffee cups is astronomical! That’s why we are getting local Hobart cafes to sign on as cup conscious cafés.’

Dozens of cafés in Hobart have already signed up as ‘Cup Conscious Cafés’, and are proudly displaying stickers to indicate their support for the campaign.

Now Markets for Change is seeking ‘Cup Conscious Champions’ to volunteer to help spread the movement around Australia. It won’t be long before there are ‘Cup Conscious Communities’ where all the cafés will have signed up.

It is estimated that 58 billion paper cups are thrown away globally each year. That’s one million tonnes of paper, or 32 million trees and 100 billion litres of water, emitting as much greenhouse gas as half a million cars. It’s a mountain of waste that has serious environmental consequences.

The aim of Markets for Change’s campaign is to encourage people to use their own reusable cups as a way of minimising the mountains of waste, deforestation, pollution and CO2 emissions which come from our widespread use of throwaway coffee cups. The idea is to reward cafés who help their customers to take the simple action of drinking from the same cup more than once.

Peg Putt says, ‘Look for the ‘Cup Conscious Café’ sticker at your local coffee shop to see if they are participating. If not, do ask them to show their support for a more sustainable approach to our coffee culture. We are looking for ‘Cup Conscious Champions’ to volunteer to help roll out the movement across Australia and elsewhere.’ You can sign on to volunteer as a Cup Conscious Champion here:

Check out the list of cup conscious cafes in Hobart here: and keep watching while this movement grows and grows!

Markets for Change is one of EPN’s Australian member organisations. Based in Tasmania, it is a group of campaigners who have taken the fight to protect Australian and other forests directly to the companies that drive and profit from their destruction. Market-focused campaigning is an exciting alternative to traditional campaign efforts to produce policy change, which is becoming increasingly relevant as politicians are elected who are uninterested in or even hostile to environmental and human rights issues.

EPN Co-ordinated a Successful Day of Action on Throwaway Cups and Launch of the Cupifesto


Last week saw a flurry of activity around the world with many EPN member organisations challenging throwaway cups. The launch of our Cupifesto – a manifesto for a world without throwaway cups –  was fun and attracted significant attention (see this article in The Guardian, for example).

In Australia, ‘cup conscious cafes’ were signing up to the Cupifesto. In China, lots of local organisations promoted reusable and often very beautiful tea vessels. In Germany there were challenges to fast drinks retailers who only give their customers a throwaway option, and there were also celebrations of reusable cups ranging from traditional ceramic coffee mugs to modern plastic keep-cups. In the USA activists were out on the street highlighting the huge problem of unrecyclable cups. In the UK intensive discussion raged about discounts for customers who bring their own cups and taxes on those who don’t. And all around the world, people blogged, tweeted, facebooked and just chatted about throwaway cups.

One of the interesting results of all this discussion is a poll run by Packaging Newsthe packaging industry magazine, asking if a tax on throwaway cups is a good idea. At the time of writing (5 October, day 3 of the poll), two-thirds of respondents are in favour of a cup tax: 40% say ‘Yes – we drastically need to reduce takeaway cups’ and a further 26% say ‘Yes, but the money raised should be invested in recycling infrastructure’. Only a minority of respondents, even in the packaging industry, think that throwaway cups are not a problem.

It’s clearly time for more leadership to move us towards a future where our daily tea and coffee does not cost the earth. Watch this space as we continue to work together to promote the Cupifesto – a manifesto for a world without throwaway cups.

International Day of Action on Throwaway Cups


through-away-kreis-grau-schwarzer-randMEDIA RELEASE: Civil society organisations around the world are taking action on Thursday 29 September 2016 to raise awareness that using throwaway cups causes harm to people, forests, water and the climate. The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) is launching its ‘Cupifesto – A Manifesto for No Throwaway Cups’ urging drinks retailers and politicians all over the world to stop encouraging a throwaway culture, by ensuring all cups are reusable.

Mandy Haggith, co-ordinator of the Environmental Paper Network said, ‘Throwaway cups, whether made of paper, Styrofoam or plastic, are an icon of wasteful resource use, and of the unthinking acceptance of ever increasing volumes of disposable commodities. It is unacceptable that we drink from single-use vessels instead of beautiful pottery, tough plastic or elegant steel. The Cupifesto is a call to fast food and drinks companies and politicians to ensure everyone has the option of drinking tea and coffee from reusable vessels. Our message is simple – no throwaway cups.’

At least 58 billion throwaway cups are used each year globally, using more than a million tonnes of paper. Their production requires 32 million trees, 100 billion litres of water (that’s 43 thousand Olympic swimming pools) and emits as much greenhouse gases as half a million cars. Hardly any throwaway cups are recycled.

Several EPN member organisations are campaigning on paper cups on this international day of action, including NGOs in Germany, USA, Australia, China and Finland.

Jannis Pfendtner of Robin Wood, Germany, said, “More than 10 billion throwaway cups are used in Germany each year – the waste issue is huge! Many companies such as the German bakery BackWerk do not even have ceramic or reusable dishes anymore. Wasting precious wood for a cup, which is only in use for a few minutes, is crazy.”

The North American group Stand has launched a “Better Cup” campaign targeting Starbucks. Their Executive Director, Todd Paglia, said, “Starbucks coffee cups destroy forests and our climate. It’s time Starbucks provide sufficient incentives to motivate their customers to bring their own cups, and make their cups fully recyclable everywhere.”

Peg Putt, Chief Executive Officer of Markets for Change, Australia, said, “We’ve launched a ‘cup conscious cafe’ movement in Australia to indicate that cafes welcome reusable cups, and most cafes in central Hobart, Tasmania have already joined. They proudly display the cup conscious cafe sticker to inform customers.”

The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) is a coalition of more than 140 environmental and social non-governmental organisations from 28 countries, who all share a Global Paper Vision for sustainable future paper production and use. The first pillar of this vision is to reduce global paper consumption.

The Cupifesto is published with relevant background information and resources here:

For more information contact Mandy Haggith  +44 (0)1571 844020


Actions and campaigns by our member organisations

Stand’s Starbucks Campaign

Learn more about Stand’s Starbucks Campaign 


Robin Wood’s Backwerk Campaign

Learn more about Robin Wood’s Backwerk Campaign 

Markets For Change, Australia

Learn more about Markets for Change 

China Environmental Paper Network (CEPN) at Qinglong County

Learn more about CEPN 

Green Henan, at Zhengzhou City, China

Green Longjiang, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China

Green Camel Bell, Lanzhou City, China

Tropica Verde, Germany

Learn more about Tropica Verde 

Ecodevelop, Germany

Paper Saving Summit



If you get frustrated by junk mail, paper cups, disposable napkins, catalogues, packaging or pointless photocopying, you need to come to the Paper Saving Summit.

On 31 May 2016, people will gather from around the world for a summit about paper saving at Wiston Lodge in the Scottish borders. We will be discussing how we can achieve the first goal of the Global Paper Vision: to reduce global paper consumption. Our goal is to be
both inspiring and practical, having fun but also resulting in a viable joint paper saving campaign. So far we have participants from around Europe, China, Australia, USA and Canada and the more the merrier.

The event will begin with a Paper Saving Passions Catwalk, where participants will give creative expression to their passions, irritations, ideas and projects about paper saving. We’ll have market stalls, where details of current campaigns will be shared, and we’ll be bouncing around frightening facts about paper waste to keep us motivated, while also  exploring solutions on which we can work together.

There will be lots of opportunities for discussion, so whether you have a practical project that is going well, or just know paper consumption is a problem but have no idea where to start, this meeting is for you. Come along, be inspired and get active.

All member organisations of the Environmental Paper Network are welcome to take part. Bookings can be made by following this link.

For guidance about preparation for the summit and the agenda, see here.

Contact Mandy Haggith for more information.

CALL FOR PROJECTS: Reducing wasteful paper consumption

WWF Forests for Life Programme seed-funds projects reducing wasteful paper consumption

Forests will come under pressure like never before in the coming decades to meet the demands of a growing population.[1] Reducing wasteful consumption will be key to ensure that the Earth’s resources are not depleted. It is, therefore, an integral aspect of the WWF Forests for Life programme’s work and at the heart of EEPN. We know that the challenges are vast, which is why finding synergies and working together as NGOs and civil society organisations is of essence. With this letter we approach the Environmental Paper Networks around the world with a seed funding proposal for projects on stopping wasteful paper consumption.

In 2015/2016 the WWF Forests for Life programme will seed-fund 2-3 NGO projects in identified priority countries that show effective strategies and steps towards reducing wasteful paper consumption. Priority will be given to projects with a multiplier effect and chances for continuation beyond the seed-funding phase.

We look for submissions of projects for the following identified priority countries:

  • Projects that reduce wasteful paper consumption in countries with high per capita consumption and significant overall paper consumption rates: United States; Japan; Canada; Germany, UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain
  • Projects that encourage sustainable paper use growth strategies (promoting highly valuable paper uses but warning against wasteful paper uses) in countries with low per capita paper use, however with high overall paper use and significant growth rates: China, Poland

Max. funding per project: 5000 Euro

Timeframe of the project: October 2015 to June 2016

Format: Maximum 1 page description and a budget.

Deadline for submitting the proposals: 20th of September 2015

Download pdf for full details here.

New film: The Future of Paper


A new film expressing a vision for the future of paper was launched by civil society today in advance of Paper World, the paper industry gathering in Frankfurt, Germany. The film argues that as a global society we need to look at this everyday material with new eyes, and transform the way we use it to achieve a more equitable and sustainable future.

Mandy Haggith of the European Environmental Paper Network (EEPN) said, “We hope that everyone who watches the Future of Paper will value it a bit more and think again about wasteful paper use. Everyone in Europe, North America and China uses paper numerous times every day and yet we mostly take it for granted. This film will help people to make the connection between their own daily consumption and the impacts it has on forests, people, the global climate and water.”

Peter Gerhardt of German NGO denkhausbremen, said, “Current paper consumption in industrialised countries must be reduced dramatically in order to lower the pressure on forests and forest people, who suffer from the impacts of the pulp and paper industry around the world.”

Richard Wainwright of FERN, said “This film urges paper companies to rise to the realistic and achievable challenge of ensuring paper production is never to the detriment of local communities who depend on the forests for their survival.”

The film is the outcome of an international process over the past year, in which more than 140 organisations around the world have endorsed a shared Global Paper Vision. This vision describes a future in which the pulp and paper industry and all governments, financiers and consumer companies associated with the industry, have transformed to achieve sustainable production and consumption.

The film can also be watched on the Youtube Channel of the Environmental Paper Network here:

For more information contact:

Mandy Haggith on +44 1571 844020 or +44 7734235704 or


EEPN encourages discussion on paper vapour – the climate change impacts of paper


In July 2013, the EEPN published a commissioned discussion paper analysing the carbon footprint of the full lifecycle of paper. It can be found here. There is still time to comment on this paper, and feedback is welcome on it until 31 August 2013.

The paper indicates that if the full impacts of production, use and disposal are taken into account, paper is potentially responsible for more carbon emissions than global aviation. We call these emissions ‘paper vapour’. The EEPN is encouraging comment and discussion on this issue. Please send comments to

You can find out more about paper vapour here.

Paper Vapour event on link between paper and climate change


Did you know that the carbon emissions from paper production, use and disposal exceed the emissions from the aviation industry? We call these emissions paper vapour.

The EEPN is organising a seminar in London on 9 July to explore the links between paper and climate change. It will include the latest research into paper’s carbon footprint and presentations on paper efficiency from public and private sector organisations. This event will make clear why paper efficiency must be a key part of every organisation’s climate change strategy. To find out more see here: