The paper cup and its environmental impact

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

keepcupAnd I do not even want to talk about the expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) cup...

Time and again people throw those “paper” cups into paper recycling bins in the erroneous belief that they are recyclable but this is, in fact, not the case.

The paper cup is lined and that either with a plastic which, by the way, more times than not, contains BPA or with a wax substance, neither of which can be separated (as far as I have been told) from the paper and thus the cup cannot be recycled. Such a cup or cups in a paper recycling bin, however, contaminated the content of the entire bin and thus makes the issue even worse.

So, what is the answer?

The answer is a reusable coffee cup that the user carries but here we also have problems (and no, this is not going to be an advert for a certain brand of reusable cup even though I will mention one or two).

Most reusable mugs are not coffee bar compatible as they do not fit under the machines and thus the barista needs to use a disposable cup in which to measure your coffee and then fill your mug. Thus a cup is still thrown away.

There are very few reusable mugs and cups that, in fact, fit the machines and – and no, I am not getting paid for this – the most ideal one in this quarter is the KeepCup, made in Australia and available in many places around the world.

It was designed by people who actually know how coffee shops work and, in fact, were the owners of a coffee shop or two, so that it really could be used straight under the machine. Another cup that, just about fits and has the right size for the standard size of coffee, is the Koziol “Aroma To Go” thermo beaker.

Thus, don't waste your money on the so-called travel mugs, reusable mugs, etc. from other sources if you really want to reduce your impact when buying takeout coffee. Invest in the right kind of cups.

While the German Koziol beaker is also a great one my recommendation is and remains the KeepCup and KeepCup has a number of different sizes including an Espresso cup.

© 2012

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