Natasha Wilson

365 Things – Get a Reusable Coffee Mug
January 30, 2009, 16:06
Filed under: 365 Things

acupThis is a subject that’s close to my heart.  Those who know me, know that I consume an extreme amount of coffee on a daily basis.  At this point, my consumption is unlikely to change.  So, how do I make the best of my steadfast habits?  Well, if I walked into my neighbourhood coffee shop without my reusable travel mug, there would be an embarassing pile of coffee cups on my desk, in my car, scattered around my house… sound familiar?  Traveling with a reusable coffee mug is a great way to reduce your consumption of unrecyclable paper/plastic products.

What’s In A Cup?

Yup… you heard me… unrecyclable.  Grab a cup of coffee from your local java shop, and you may notice some interesting stats; “10% post consumer recycled material” is one of them.  Why don’t manufacturers use 100% recycled paper? First off, the FDA restricts the use of recycled paper pulp coming in contact with food and beverages.  Secondly, no one can seem to make a 100% recycled paper cup that’s strong enough to hold a hot beverage.  So why can’t we recycle the paper cups we use? Most cups are laminated with a plastic resin, which helps keep the beverage warm and prevents liquids from soaking into the paper.  It also prevents the cups from being recycled.

Why do I care?

North America uses 60 per cent of the world’s paper cups, 130 billion of them per year.  Producing those cups requires about 50 million trees and 33 billion gallons of water, which could sequester 9.3 million tonnes of CO2 and quench 550,000 drought-stricken citizens in a country of your choosing.  And then, we need to consider the long-term impacts – the, “what happens when my glorious cup of coffee is finished?”  In 2006, it is estimated that paper cups accounted for 252 million pounds of garbage resting in landfills.

365 Things –  Pick One

Next time you grab a coffee, grab a resuable mug.  Many major java chains even give a discount for bringing your own.  It’s a win/win situation for everyone.


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