Walk through the city on any work day morning and you will see pretty much every person you pass clutching a coffee - in a disposable coffee cup with a plastic lid. In another universe, you are also looking at the daily contribution towards billions of coffee cups sitting in landfill.Each cup will be sitting in landfill for about 50 years or so. MOST OF US STILL BELIEVE THAT COFFEE CUPS ARE RECYCLABLE. THE PROBLEM IS THAT MANY COFFEE CUPS ARE LINED WITH POLYETHYLENE, WHICH MAKES THEM GENERALLY UN-RECYCLABLE AND NON-COMPOSTABLE. Even some of the biodegradable eco cups are questionable, firstly because many are manufactured from GM corn and secondly because, many biodegradable plastics, need almost perfect conditions (light and heat) to readily biodegrade - something that doesn't typically exist in a landfill. If you are drinking from a biodegradable cup, check the cup for the Australian Certification Compostable logos. Australian Certification Compostable certification ensures that the cup is completely plastic free and will breakdown with organic waste in an industrial composting facility.Coffee cup lids are usually made of recyclable plastic and go in your recycle bin, although many get tossed in the landfill bin still stuck on the cup. (I am not entirely sure why you would want a lid in the first place. It's not as if you put a lid on the coffee or tea you make in the kitchen. It is kind of bizarre the way we have started putting lids on takeaway coffee.)If you do toss your coffee cup, at least take the lid and put it in the recycle bin. IF YOU DO GET COFFEE IN A TAKE AWAY, THINK ABOUT SAYING NO TO LIDS AND CREATING AT LEAST ONE LESS PIECE OF PLASTIC. IT ALL COUNTS.Besides the issues with recycling, one of the big problems with a disposable cups is that each one contains only 5 percent of the raw materials that were used to create and transport them. (Source: Source Separation Systems.)A better alternative to disposable coffee cups is to buy a good quality reusable and recyclable coffee cup and train yourself to take it with you when you buy your coffee. There are many excellent and very funky cups around, including brands like frank green, SoL Cups, and JOCO that are made locally. Many cafes will discount your coffee cost if you bring a reusable cup and some will even store your cup for you.