Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Today I got a coffee and after I was finished I was looking at the sleeve I put on the paper coffee cup to keep my hands from being burned. This particular sleeve advertised saying it was eco friendly and was made from 100% recycled paper. At first when I thought about this I thought it was good. Then I realized that probably all these “eco friendly” sleeves are going to be thrown out. So really we just used an old resource that we no longer found useful and used more energy to make it into something else useful then we throw it away. Yes it is made from recycled paper so it is better than using paper we just cut down new trees to make. But a coffee sleeve is something that we really should not be using anyway. So in reality it is just a waste of energy and resources.
We use an enormous number of disposable coffee cups every single day. These coffee cups are sometimes made from recycled paper, sometimes from Styrofoam and when we are finished with them we throw them away. Billions of coffee cups are thrown away every year. They fill up our landfills and are one item that we could easily go without. It would be easy for everyone to purchase a reusable coffee mug and use it instead of using a new disposable coffee cup every time. I know for me sometimes I forget my reusable mug, and I’m sure this is the case with many other people as well. There are things we could do to promote people to use reusable mugs instead of disposable ones. For example I know some places offer a small discount if you bring your own mug. The discount may not be significant if you get it once but it you get it every day for a year it could be quite substantial. We need to make reusable mugs more of a habit in our everyday lives rather than something we use when we remember it. It is a small change in our daily lives that could have a large impact on our environment in the long run.