Everyday many of us decide to take our coffee away in a paper cup.
Think about it. How many cups (and be honest) of takeaway coffee do you consume on average in a day? Lets say, two every working day and two over the weekend. That’s about 12 every week. Doing the math, that’s about 624 takeaway paper coffee cups a year and on average per person.
It is easy to imagine the environmental consequence of this decision — billions of cups, millions of trees and tons of greenhouse gases (estimates vary) every year.
The word “paper” might suggest that the paper cup is easily recycled and that it is not as bad as its plastic cousin. However, most paper cups are coated with a plastic resin (i.e., polyethylene) for durability and convenience, therefore making both their composting and recycling uncommon and raising the specter of carcinogenic chemical leeching.
Moreover, the environmental cost of using disposable coffee cups is in the energy and resources used for the production, the shipping and particularly the disposal of each cup.
According to one study on the environmental impacts of paper cups, each cup, taking into account the paper, the paper sleeve, production and shipping, emits about 0.11 kilograms of CO2.
Depending on forestry practices (and whether they are sustainable or not) paper cup production results in loss of trees, ecosystem degradation and a reduction in the planet’s carbon absorption capacity.
In our world of shrinking forests and growing landfill, continued use of the paper cup is both redundant and unsustainable.
This is the Paper Cup Problem Comrade. This is its effect, this is our problem, and we will see the solution.
It all starts and ends with you, Comrade – End the Cup Madness.