Paper Coffee Cups: Good or Bad for the Environment?
The short answer is: paper coffee cups are bad for the environment.
But sometimes it’s more convenient to grab your morning cup of coffee in a paper cup and toss that cup in the trash before you get on the crowded subway for the daily commute.
So What’s so Bad About Paper Coffee Cups?
One of the biggest faults of paper coffee cups is that you can’t reuse them. This leads to billions of paper coffee cups filling up landfills. According to the EPA, in 2010 the US generated around 71 million tons of waste in paper (including newspapers, poster board, etc.) While landfills take up space, the landfill cells also tend to leak back into the environment and cause health concerns for anyone or anything living close by. Many paper coffee cups are lined with a thin layer of plastic, and plastic leakage in landfills is a major cause of concern. Leakage into groundwater is dangerous for any town getting its water from that area, and leakage near a lake or bay means it’s harder to clean up and maintain. We’re also sure the wildlife living nearby doesn’t appreciate our paper waste either.
But What About Recycling Paper Cups?
The EPA says that in 2010, approximately 45 million tons of paper was recycled. That is a massive amount of paper, but compared to a total waste of around 71 million tons, it’s only 63%.
If you’re going to get your coffee in a paper cup, it’s better for the environment if you recycle that cup. We also recommend buying a durable travel mug that you can fill up at the coffee shop.
But what if you love the environment and also really like the look of paper coffee cups?
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Paper Coffee Cups
The “I am Not a Paper Cup” travel mug is a porcelain travel cup that looks like it’s made out of paper. It holds 12oz., comes with a lid for easy transportation on the bus, and is double-walled to keep your drink hot.
The Copco Arcadia Mug is a reusable mug that also looks like a paper cup. It holes 16oz. and comes with a nonslip grip.
The Lock & Lock Eco Mug comes with the words “I am not a paper cup” printed on the side to ensure that nobody accidentally throws out your mug.
Content Photo: orphanjones