When I was up at St. Olaf’s Buntrock Commons earlier this week, I noticed a very cool display on the impact of student use of disposable coffee cups. The top of the white board proclaimed:
There is no such thing as a sustainable disposable cup
The bulk of the notes on the white board focused on the financial waste, not the environmental impact. For more on the latter, see The Basic Problem with Coffee Cups on the Sustainability is Sexy website. The summary:
Disposable paper cups affect the environment negatively. Besides creating a steady supply of waste, disposable cups also demand a large consumption of natural resources and emit high levels of climate-changing green house gases. Because so many disposable paper cups are used throughout the world, the actual environmental affect can be staggering.
Fortunately, there are alternatives. Reusable coffee cups reduce the impact disposable cups have on our environment. Waste, natural resources, and damage done by green house gases are all decreased by reusable cups after only 24 uses. As an added bonus, reusable cups help cut supply costs for coffee houses. That discount is often passed on to consumers – saving everyone money.
After much experimentation, I’ve used the Thermos 360° Drink Lid Tumbler as my main coffee cup for years, though truth be told, my motivation was initially to avoid spilling coffee on my laptop.