The Autonomy of the Disposable cup – A recap.

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For all those coffee snobs out, This is a real look at what you’re holding when you grab you’re morning to Go coffee.

  1. The Lid

– Made of Polystyrene which is not accepted in curbside recycling programs

– Polystyrene may leach toxins into food products, especially when heated

– Polystyrene is used to make styrofoam and is classified as a grade 6 plastic

– Of all the plastics it has been advised to AVOID use of grade 6 plastics all together

– after throwing it ‘away,’ a polystyrene lid will continue to exist for hundreds of years.

– Polystyrene has the potential to transfer toxic chemicals into the food chain because it eventually breaks into smaller pieces and animals often mistake it for food.

  1. The Sleeve

–  Though the majority of sleeves are made of recycled material, most sleeves don’t end up being recycled.

– Unrecycled sleeves make up about 2.8 billion pounds of trash every year in landfills

– A coffee drinker can save 6-10 lbs of paper waste every year by simply substituting the cardboard sleeve with a reusable sleeve.

– 3 billion hot cup sleeves were produced in 2011

  1. The Cup

– Most paper cups are coated with plastic a low density polyethylene or grade 4 plastic which means they cannot be composted or recycled.

– Paper cups may consume more non-renewable resources than cups made of styrofoam

–  Paper cups are generally manufactured from virgin materials.

–  In 2006, Over 6.5 million trees were cut down to make 16 billion paper cups used by US consumers only for coffee in 2006, using 4 billion US gallons of water and resulting in 253 million pounds of waste.

– Overall, North Americans use 58% of all paper cups, amounting to roughly 130 billion paper cups.

–  Today it is estimated twenty million trees are cut down every year just to manufacture paper cups.

In conclusion, our To Go culture of coffee is not sustainable. It is damaging to the environment and our health. Today I am pledging to break my own habit of using paper cups and advocating that you also bring your own reusable to-go cup to your local shop, or sit for 15 minutes and enjoy a warm beverage in a ceramic cup at your cafe.

Continue reading “The Autonomy of the Disposable cup – A recap.”

Disposable cups = Disposable trees

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How many trees are cut down every year to create single use disposable cups for the sake of convince?

As you’ll sadly remember Comrade, it’s estimated that 500 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill every year. That’s one million cups a minute, every hour, every day of every year.

We know the appalling statistics – we witness them on a daily basis.

What’s even more staggering Comrade, is the ugly underbelly that underpins the manufacturing industry for these tiny heinous products.

Deforestation: According to Sustainability Is Sexy more than 6.5 million trees were cut down in 2006 to create the 16 billion paper cups thrown away.

Why don’t manufacturers use recycled paper? Firstly, FDA regulations are strict when it comes to allowing recycled paper pulp to be in direct contact with food and beverages. Secondly, recycled paper isn’t strong enough to hold a liquid.

Therefore, most paper cups are made from 100% virgin paperwood.

Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400% in the past 40 years, with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper manufacture.

Paper-making is a harsh, destructive extremely resource intensive process.

Not only does it involve stripping the land to create wastelands and deserts, the pulping industry also contributes devastating environmental impacts.

Such as air pollution, water pollution and waste.

Air pollution:

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are all emitted during paper manufacturing. Nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide are major contributors of acid rain, whereas CO2 is a greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.

Water pollution:

Wastewater discharges for a pulp and paper mill contains solids, nutrients and dissolved organic matter which will dissolved in fresh water, exacerbate eutrophication (the ecosystem’s response to the addition of artificial or natural substances)

of fresh water bodies and (in sever cases) kill higher living organisms.

Waste:

Paper waste like other wastes faces the additional hazard of toxic inks, dyes and polymers that could be potentially carcinogenic when incinerated, or comingled with groundwater via traditional burial methods such as modern landfills.[1]Fortunately most the paper industries in the US, Australia and Europe manage their forestry with sustainable practices but the production of paper products still continues to have a profound effect on our planet.

Trees are like Carbon Dioxide sponges and with every dimished tree we remove the planets natural Carbon Dioxide filter and also release more carbon into the atmosphere from the soil.

(The process of Carbon absorption by trees compacts into the soil where, after millions of years, it creates the fossil fuels.)

Cutting down trees, exposes this soil and allows this carbon stored in the soil to be released back into the atmosphere.)

Every cup ever manufactured associates an exhaustive list of environmental problems, which are only accentuated by their widespread usage among coffee drinkers. The entire process requires a substantial amount of water, energy… and a lot of trees.

Respect our beautiful resources and say no to disposable cups. #endthecupmadness

[1] The Environmental impact of paper, 2015.

<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_paper&gt;

Image source: <http://www.conbio.info/post/tag/forest-industry/&gt;

The Paper Cup Problem – A Break Down.

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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.