The city's biggest shopping centre has today launched a major recycling initiative to combat landfill waste.
Cairns Central has partnered with environmental organisation Closed Loop to recycle disposable coffee cups at the centre, with coffee cup shaped recycling bins to be installed throughout the centre to encourage customers to recycle.
Australians use more than one billion disposable coffee cups each year - estimated to be the second-largest contributor to litter waste after plastic bottles.
The plastic lining in coffee cups take over 50 years to break down, and when disposed of incorrectly in a co-mingled or paper recycling bin, the entire bin contents are considered contaminated and sent to landfill.
Cairns Central Centre Manager Christie-Lee Jackson said it was the latest initiative aimed at reducing the centre's impact on the environment.
“Cairns Central has adopted this initiative to increase its recycling capacity, in addition to almost 40 per cent of waste which is generated onsite then diverted from landfill and mostly recycled," she said.
Ms Jackson said Cairns Central had listened to the community’s concern for the environment and the desire for local businesses to be more sustainable.
"We recognise the legacy of our activities and we’re accountable for what we take, create and leave behind," she said. “The centre is continually working to reduce its impact on the local environment and contribute to the local economy and community.”
Closed Loop founder and managing director Robert Pascoe said the program being introduced by Cairns Central, called Simply Cups, is Australia's first coffee cup recycling program.
"The program allows businesses to close the loop on coffee cups, so we’re excited to have the centre join the program," he said.
"With early adopters such as Cairns Central leading the way, we believe we can make coffee cup recycling more common and hope that one day all Australian shopping centre’s will be on board.”