Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Questionable Coffee Cup

I was sitting and enjoying a cup of tea this morning and I was thinking about cups. No, not glass ones or plastic ones, and certainly not protective ones, but those take-out generic cups used by restaurants and coffee houses everywhere. The one I was drinking from was markings of any kind. It was actually quite boring and, if I had had more time or if my lecture had been lagging enough, I would have defaced it, but instead I sat there in epiphanic wonder:

How bad are these things for the environment?

When you start to think about it, there are a lot of different kinds. You've got your typical ones used by Tim Hortons and other average joe coffee shops, paper-made with a coating to seal the paper from the liquid because, otherwise, you'd have a very messy coffee!

Then, you have the Timothy's World Coffee cups. I love them. There's no need to double cup their drinks. But then, when compared to paper, what's better for the environment? I mean, how great is polystyrene...really? Hmmm, perhaps I'm digging too deep and much too quickly. Allow me to lay out the facts first, then I'll continue:

Paper: from our beloved, and quickly disappearing, forests. Sigh, caffine empires such as Starbucks claim to be so environmentally-friendly, then we're losing trees to stop the shakes and twinges of their coffee-drinking, half-caf and low foam customers!

Polystyrene: is "a rigid, clear, thermoplastic polymer that can be molded into objects or made into a foam that is used to insulate refrigerators." In other words, this foam is made into a material that has been trademarked and is commonly known as Styrofoam. Moms everywhere are happy it was created because now they can have a party and NOT spend the rest of the night elbow deep in dirty dishwater! But this material, also used for insulated disposible cups, is normally thrown not into a recycling bin, but into a trash recepticle. If it is incinerated, like some garbage is, it burns to release a soot.

This is not good.

I found a site calling for "No Foam!" and here's a little of what they said:

  1. Toxic chemicals leach out of these products into the food that they contain. These chemicals threaten human health and reproductive systems.
  2. These products are made with petroleum, a non-sustainable, heavily polluting and disappearing commodity.
  3. The product does not biodegrade. It crumbles into fragments that have no expiration date.

And all I can say is, "Yikes!" and that I believe I need to rethink my views on Timothy's Word Coffee cups...

There's also "heavy board" cups, but those you don't see too often. All in all, I only needed a chance to rant a little. Well, that and I wanted to make you think about what you're drinking out of. I guess that the most important thing that you do is think twice and recycle whatever you drink from!

So, enjoy your coffee today, but with an added sense of environmental awareness to mix in with your milk and sugar.



At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:21:00 PM, Blogger Hannah said...

Hey Amy!

Great blogs, keep it up, I liked the milennium one a not, so true!! I made a link on my site for you, see you soon!


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