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Monday, April 6, 2009

An Eco-Friendly Coffee Cup

Is a Reusable Ceramic Mug the Only Green Solution to Coffee Drinking?

Recycle that cup and coffee sleeve and make a difference.

Seth Leitman

By Seth Leitman
Briarcliff Manor, New York | Thu Mar 19 09:45:00 EDT 2009

coffee sleeve recycle photo


Recycling | Reuse | Sustainable Coffee

Look, we know that coffee is the world's most commonly traded commodity after crude oil, and tea is the world's most consumed beverage after water.

As I have been writing my next book, Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid at my local coffee house, I too have wondered what the heck we can do to make our coffee drinking a little more green than it was before.

Is the Ceramic Mug the Only Way to be Eco-Friendly?
Now I have heard all the debate about using ceramic cups: if you can reuse it 3-4,000 times, it is the most eco-friendly coffee cup choice. However, in the same article, I also read that if you reuse a paper cup 3 times, then that is the more eco-friendly option. Even the cheapest waxed cup is capable of holding 3 cups of coffee.

Similarly, a plastic cup used 5 times would also trump the ceramic cup. This is because of all the resources that go into making a ceramic mug...so if you aren't going to reuse your mug 3,000 or more times, but could reuse your paper cup 3-5 times, you can feel OK about paper, but then...

For the majority of people that do not recycle at all, why not start with the coffee cup and sleeve? It is an easy, difference-making place to start.

Given that we have a deforestation problem, and that methane is created by landfills, we all need to recycle more.

Here are Some Numbers to Ponder about Recycling
We would replace 544,000 trees if every household replaced just ONE roll of toilet paper with 100 % recycled toilet paper.

Imagine, just imagine recycling just two coffee cups and sleeves a week?

How To Recycle The Paper Cup and Sleeve
When I recycle the coffee cup and sleeve, I usually bring it home and recycle it in the paper/cardboard bin. The sleeve is mostly cardboard and my recycling guys take it. They even are so stringent about recycling where I live that if they even see a single cup in the trash can they will NOT take the trash. That is really cool of them!

How To Recycle The Plastic Lid
Another thing to remember is to remove the plastic lid from the cup and recycle that in the plastic bin. Also. if you find that your local area does not take the plastic lid then see if you have a store that WILL recycle the plastic lid. If not, I usually place it in the plastic bin and they take it anyway.

Here are some more great posts about giving back through recycling and being careful about our coffee drinking:
Sustainable Coffee
Focus on Focus Earth: Last of the Acanthus
How Many Gallons of Water Does it Take to Make Your Latte?
Warm Up with Greener Coffee Drinks
How to Go Green: Recycling
Recycling: By the Numbers

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I work in a cafe in Sydney, Australia, so im always interested in the latest industry trends. This post was great, and I found another excellent one on the U.N. blog regarding the coffee cup issue - http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/2009/03/03/storm-in-a-paper-cup/
A recommended read..



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