Behind the Paper Coffee Cup

Posted byadmin Posted onJuly 18, 2023 Comments0

Coffee has become a tradition to many American’s morning routine. In fact, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee every year. This is not a surprise to most people as the number of corporate and local coffee shops increase all over the nation. However, this barrage of coffee shops is not only increasing the amount of revenue in the coffee industry, but it is also increasing the amount of waste that is being produced by the paper coffee cups they are using. Of the 100 billion cups of coffee that are sold every year, it is estimated that 23 billion of those cups are dispensed in a non or partially recycled paper cups. This amount of coffee cups is not only producing waste, but when adding in the resource intensive manufacturing process, it is wasting valuable resources like energy, water and wood. By changing the current habit of always using a paper cup, supplied by a coffee shop, to using a reusable coffee mug could save many resources, which in turn could be used for more essential manufacturing projects.

The Problem With Using a Paper Cup

Individuals wonder, why is there such a push to use reusable coffee mugs and not just recycle paper cups. However, current recycling technology does not allow for recycling of paper coffee cups. The reason behind this is, paper cups are laminated with a plastic resin known as polyethylene, which helps keep coffee stay warm and prevents the paper cup from absorbing the liquid and leaking. The coating is what prevents the paper cups from being recycled, and in turn every paper cup that is manufactured and coated with the plastic resin ends up in a landfill. The decomposing process of these cups then emits methane into environment, which has 23 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide.

The second issue with paper cups is the manufacturing process, and how resource intensive it is. The three resources used in creating paper cups are trees, water and energy. In order to produce the 23 billion paper reusable coffee cup cups it requires (1) 9.4 million trees, (2) 5.7 billion gallons of water and (3) 7 trillion BTU’s of energy. With these same resources it could generate 1.4 million tons of wood, power 77,000 homes and fill 8,500 Olympic size swimming pools. Understanding that it would be impossible to eliminate 100% of the paper cup waste, society must find ways to cut into this waste and commit to reducing their waste. By taking on this issue one person at a time, this generation can start the process of reducing waste. This article is not only to be used to inform the public of the large amount of waste associated with paper coffee cups, but it is a call to start seeing areas in our live that can be adjusted in order to promote a more promising way of life.

How To Make A Difference

There are many solutions regarding changing the current issue, and these suggestions are things that will not impact you lifestyle. First, is purchase a reusable coffee cup online, which can be delivered within days to your home, or at a local store. Additionally, having more than one reusable cup increases the possibility of having a cup available when you leave in the morning. Remember the goal is to make this process easy so it does not effect your normal morning routine. Next, did you know if you take a reusable cup of coffee to Starbucks you will receive 10 cents off per cup of coffee? By joining this pledge to make a difference, you can help save the natural resources it takes to produce these product. In conclusion, adding a reusable cup to your everyday routine will make a huge difference. By purchasing a reusable cup online you will be able to save money, help the environment and make a difference in the world you are living in.


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