The topic of this article is disposable coffee cups. This is a topic that is dear to me and we’re getting close to my heard here. So when I’m talking about disposable coffee cups I’ll be looking at this topic from an environmental stand point. I think most of us in the west have for too long lived in a single use disposable consumerist culture. And I think as coffee lovers we owe the planet a debt of gratitude and as coffee connoisseurs we appreciate the delicate ecosystems that are involved in producing our coffee of the day.
Most of the disposable coffee cups that we get from our favorite coffee establishments are paper coffee cups. Paper coffee cups like most paper cups are biodegradable coffee cups if allowed to biodegrade properly. This is not always the case when you chuck these disposable cups into the garbage. That way, they get buried and take hundreds of years to biodegrade amongst all the garbage out there.
Scientific studies have shown that plastic coffee cups and paper coffee cups are even when it comes to the environmental impact that they contribute to. There is no clear winner. Disposable plastic cups and disposable paper cups are shall we say, both bad when it comes to protecting our environment. And yes, you can find recycled disposable coffee cups and that should be part of our approach. And if you’re going to use a plastic cup then perhaps look into the biodegradable plastic cups that are out there like those made from corn oil.
Nevertheless, these are not winning strategies. Using a disposable cup or a compostable cup is not the solution. And frankly, I think deep down inside we all know that. Using an ecotainer cup like those made of corn oil or recycled materials is certainly a step in the right direction. But the best approach is as always following the 3 Rs of environmentalism.
Reducing our use of disposable coffee cups
The first R is Reduce. So let’s get back to reducing our reliance on disposable coffee cups altogether. Using a French press mug or a coffee cup press is one excellent choice especially if you like French press coffee. In fact, I’m trying to make it a habit that whenever I head out in my car, I have a travelers coffee cup or my stainless steel coffee mug to take with me in case I make a stop for an espresso on my travels. The great thing about these mugs is that they are reusable coffee cups and many of them are insulated coffee cups too. They’ll keep your beverage much warmer, much longer.
That’s the first step, and actually I put the second R of environmentalism in there too. The second R as you’ll know is for Reuse. When you have a reusable coffee mug you’ll be more inclined to keep using it. It just requires the development of a habit. And these reusable mugs are useful for practically all beverages not just coffee.
Recycle your disposable coffee cups
The last R of environmentalism is Recycle. And it’s last for a reason. It should be your last choice if a choice at all in ideal circumstances. If you forget your reusable cup at home, try and opt for a recycled coffee cup and if you have to use a disposable coffee cup will you please make sure you take it home to recycle or place it in any recycling bins available at the coffee shops you visit. But always try and remember your reusable coffee cup. Most coffee franchises are no offering discounts when you bring in your own French press mug or other reusable cup. So please join me in reducing our usage of disposable coffee cups.