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  • I'm sure that you, like me, would like to do more for the environment; would like to have a lower environmental impact.

  • So you might have wondered: "Well should I be using

  • paper cups?" It's a good question, and it's one that we're going to look at in a bit more detail.

  • The paper cup has become something of an icon of the coffee industry, and

  • when the Americanized version of Italian coffee culture spread around the world and coffee shops became more like fast-food restaurants,

  • coffee on-the-go really flourished. The old Italian model was really about taking time out of your day and going and having a coffee;

  • taking a break. But now it was all about coffee

  • anytime, anywhere. More than that paper

  • Cups are what allowed this new style of coffee to become financially viable

  • Coffee shops couldn't survive if they just sold coffee to people sitting inside

  • Over time cups became expressions of brand and the cup that you held in your hand said something about who you were

  • There is however a problem

  • These cups produce a staggering amount of waste tens of thousands of tons

  • What's confusing is that it seems like they can be recycled some cups even say so

  • But if you put one into a recycling, bin you pretty much consign it to landfill. Here's the problem a paper

  • Cup is made of more than just paper

  • In order to make it waterproof and to stop hot drinks spilling into your lap the inside of a paper

  • Cup is coated with a thin layer of plastic and in order to recycle the cup

  • You'd have to separate that plastic from the paper and in the UK only three companies are currently able to do that right now

  • How bad is the paper cup problem?

  • Well reports say that we use about two and a half billion paper cups per year, which seems bad

  • But that is actually only about not 0.1% of total UK waste and only about not 0.7

  • Percent of total UK packaging waste in some ways not as bad as it looks

  • But definitely a problem, and these cups are also a very visible problem when they're left and littered

  • Now in the UK the government is proposing what it's calling a lot a levy a 25 P charge on any takeaway

  • Cups this is off the back of supermarkets charging for single-use plastic bags data from retailers shows that just over half a billion

  • Banks were used in the first six months after the charge was introduced a drop of around 90%

  • Now I'm not a fan of this proposal because I believe it's too high attacks. It's charged at the wrong time and

  • It sort of treats coffee demanders inelastic, and I think in truth it would have a massive

  • negative impact on coffee shops

  • So let's look at some alternatives and the first and most obvious one would be the porcelain

  • Cup is this better well

  • Obviously yes in 1994 a study was published by Hawking that looked at the number of times

  • You'd have to use a porcelain cup before it was better than a paper cup and it took into account the energy of

  • Manufacture as well as things like how much energy it took to wash the cup each time you used it

  • And you'd need to use a cup like this at least 50 times

  • That number goes up quite a lot depending on how it's washed if a dishwasher is inefficient or only

  • Half-full that numbered leaps up quite dramatically in fact his calculations showed that the energy it took to wash a porcelain cup

  • Was almost identical to the energy required to make a Styrofoam cup and then we have

  • Reusable cups now companies like KeepCup and others have really exploded in the last few years

  • They're very very very popular and keep cup themselves say that you would need to use their cup

  • 15 times before it's better than a paper. Cup, which seems pretty doable however

  • They're not without their drawbacks first

  • There's often complain that customers hand them over still dirty from the usage before and expect them to clean it that's not OK

  • Secondly it can be a challenge for a coffee shop to fill appropriately a random sized reusable cup

  • Sure some of these are demarcated at 8 or 12 ounces

  • But some of them may not be do you only accept cups if they have accurate volumetric lines on them?

  • How do you fill 8 ounces of liquid in a 10 or 12 or 13 ounce random reusable cup?

  • annoying little questions for cafe to answer and then we have

  • Biodegradable x' now there's still not a ton of information out there about them. There are however a couple of concerns

  • One the energy required to manufacture them is much higher and secondly they typically require specific

  • Pathways of disposal in order to properly break down just throwing one into your garden compost won't necessarily mean

  • It'll break down and naturally degrade so a little bit like paper

  • Cups you need to dispose of them properly in order to have a lower environmental impact

  • in summary our paper cups bad

  • Well yes

  • But if all we're gonna do is switch our paper cups out for porcelain cups or reusable cups and not make any wider effort in

  • our day-to-day lives

  • Then we're pretty much wasting our time

  • Maybe it should just be a symbol of a much wider effort that we make in our personal lives. It's a good start

  • We've got a lot more to do

I'm sure that you, like me, would like to do more for the environment; would like to have a lower environmental impact.

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B1 cup paper reusable porcelain energy problem

The Truth About Paper Cups

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/09
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