Compostable coffee cups

Z Espress coffee cups are compostable - and we can compost them for you*


As a nation, we go through over 180 million takeaway coffee cups a year. These cups generally can’t be recycled in New Zealand so most of them end up in our landfills. At Z alone, we sell over 4 ½ million Z Espress coffees a year, so we know we have to do something about it.

It would be great if everyone used reusable cups for their daily fix, but we’re aware this simply isn’t practical for many of our customers.

So our Z Espress takeaway cups and lids are now certified as commercially compostable, and importantly, we’re collecting them back where we can to ensure both the cups and lids can be effectively composted.

Now, when you’ve finished with your Z Espress coffee, bring your cup and lid back to one of our participating Z Espress stations and pop it into our collection bins. This’ll ensure it can be composted along with other food and green waste (trees and plants) and turned into compost.

And while you're there, grab some of our used coffee grounds for your garden.

After all, giant strides start with small steps.

 * participating sites only

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does it matter?

    • Why should I compost my coffee cup and lid?

      Most disposable coffee cups are made from paper lined with a thin layer of plastic which means they’re unable to be recycled in New Zealand and end up filling our landfills. By composting your compostable coffee cup and lid you’re helping to reduce the landfill waste in New Zealand

    • Can I still bring my own cup?

      Of course. Bringing your reusable cup saves waste by avoiding using a cup only once and then disposing of it.

  • What does compostable mean?

    • How do you define compostable?

      Compostable means that a material is: biodegradable under composting conditions; disintegrates completely in one composting cycle; has no toxic effects and does not release heavy metals over a given value into the compost; and has no negative effect on the composting process itself.

    • How do we know our cups and lids are commercially compostable?

      We have certification for the cups, ink and lids which show they meet European Commercial composting standard EN13432. This requires biodegradation of 90% of materials in a lab within 90 days.

    • What’s the difference between home and commercial composting?

      Commercial composting creates standardised conditions, such as temperature, moisture levels, and mix of biodegradable matter to ensure full breakdown of all materials. Home composting conditions can be highly variable and not always ideal.

      The biggest difference is usually in temperature: home composting bins are usually only a few degrees higher than the outside temperature, while commercial compost reaches temperatures over 55 degrees.

  • How do you collect the cups/lids for composting?

    • Where are your collection points for your compostable cups?

      We will have cup collection points at around 70 of our Z Espress stations, limited to regions where commercial composting is available. We’ll aim to continue rolling these out to more sites as more local commercial composting facilities become available. Check out the full list in the Z Espress Collection Points drop down above - the bin is located outside the front door at these sites.


    • What will you do with the compostable coffee cups and lids after you collect them?

      The compostable cups and lids will be collected with our commercial food waste collection, and sent to commercial composting sites. This waste is mixed with other biodegradable and green waste (from trees and plants) piled up and turned regularly.  At the end of about three months, the compost is sieved and then bagged for sale.

    • Can I put cups from other companies in your bins?

      It is important we only have compostable cups returned to our bins to ensure we’re able to responsibly dispose of them. If you have another cup that is clearly marked compostable (not biodegradable or recyclable), we are able to collect them in our bins. But please ensure the lids are compostable too, or otherwise drop them in our waste bins. As with recycling, if the bins get contaminated with other waste, there’s a risk they’ll get sent to landfill.

  • What if my local Z doesn't have a collection bin?

    • Why don’t you collect cups back at all of your sites?

      We have cup collection points at about 90 of our Z Espress stations, in the regions where commercial composting is available. So where we collect your used cups you can be sure that they are not going to the landfill.

      Where we don’t have a commercial food waste collection we are unable to collect your cup back for composting. If you return your cup to these sites, it will go into our landfill collection. We aim to introduce cup collection points at more sites as commercial composting becomes available in their regions.

    • Can I compost the cups and lids at home?

      We’ve had the cups and lids certified for commercial composting as this is the most commonly available standard. You can try composting them at home but they may not break down as the conditions may not be suitable. If they don’t break down, they won’t harm the compost as they don’t contain any bad toxins that could harm the environment.

    • Can I put my cups and lids in a recycling bin?

      No. Z Espress coffee cups and lids are made of bioplastics and sustainably sourced paper board. They are designed for commercial composting and are not able to be recycled.