Just one in 400 coffee cups are recycled, a new poll has found as experts warned that even if you throw them in recycling bins they are not reused.
Half of people believe their disposable coffee cups are being recycled all or most of the time, when in fact very few are, the survey suggests.
It also revealed just one in 10 of those interviewed used specialist in-store recycling bins to discard their used paper coffee cups, raising questions about their use in increasing recycling of the items.
The simplest way of encouraging people and business to reduce their contribution to waste is to give them products which can be recycled easily.
Martin Myerscough, founder of Frugalpac
As many as 2.5 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year - and just one in 400 cups is recycled as it is difficult to separate their plastic coating and cardboard to recycle the card.
But the poll revealed 50 per cent of those taking part thought most or all of their cups were recycled.
The research also found that most people (89 per cent) thought coffee shops should stock recyclable paper cups and 92 per cent said they thought it was important to be able to dispose of takeaway cups within the normal paper recycling system.
Martin Myerscough, founder of Frugalpac, said consumers were assuming that by placing their cup in a recycling bin, they had "done their bit" - which would be true if coffee cups were manufactured to go in any recycling bin.
"The simplest way of encouraging people and business to reduce their contribution to waste is to give them products which can be recycled easily."
While retailers had made great progress in placing increased numbers of recycling bins inside and outside stores "without materially changing the product that is going into the bin, this will have little effect in the long term," he said.
The poll of 2,005 people was carried out by ICM Unlimited for Frugalpac, which has developed a cup that it says can be put into standard recycling bins.