Toss Those Coffee Cups — They’re Not Recyclable December 4, 2016 Email 12-4-2016 Whether your drink of choice is black, steamed or herbal, if you drink it from a paper cup, the cup has to be thrown away. Why? Because the cup isn’t only paper — it’s plastic, too. Paper coffee cups are lined with a thin coating of polyethylene, which is how the cup is able to hold liquids without dissolving in your hand. When different materials are fused together like this, they are difficult to separate and reuse. So even though you want to be nice to the environment and recycle your coffee cup, you can’t. Toss it in the trash, and try to use a mug or travel thermos next time. You might get a discount on your beverage while you’re at it.