Join me!! Join us!! Say no to Paper Coffee Cup!!

Posted: August 17, 2012 by hiukwanw in Week 4: Final Reflections
Tags: , ,

Before I start writing this week’s PSP, I have good news to announce. That is I successfully convinced my roommates, who are my sister and her boyfriend, to join my PSP and compete with each other. Two of them are going to start using coffee mug when getting coffee too. We are going to compete with each other and the rule is: if you ever forget to bring your coffee mug, you can either give up getting coffee that day or you can go ahead and get coffee but you have to put 10 cents to this cup when get home. When I was trying to talk my sister and her boyfriend to this, we actually had a debate at home. In their opinion, we cannot rely on individuals to make a change. Instead, they think companies and government should be responsible for this. They believe that instead of trying to let people do this and do that to protect this planet, government and companies should try to invent something that is harmless to the planet. I was actually surprised that people (my sister and her boyfriend) think this way, but fortunately, I was able to talk them into this competition with me.

                 (I have this on the note board just to remind myself and my roommates)

                 (Penalty that I collected so far. :))

In order to convince them to join me, I showed them my blog. Also, I had to look up online for more information to support myself. I found this article The impact of disposable coffee cups on the environment by Nina Spitzer really convincing so I showed it to them. According to Nina, “Americans drink over 100 billion cups of coffee every year and over 16 billion of those coffees are bought in disposable paper cups, adding up to more than 6.5 million trees killed yearly. Once removed from the ecosystem, those trees no longer produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide nor filter ground water.  But, it’s not only about trees.  Consider all the ink, plastic, chemicals, water and multiple fuels that go into the manufacture of 16 billion cups!  In addition, 4 billion pounds of CO2 are released into the atmosphere during the production and shipping of those paper cups” (Spitzer, 2009). I tried to gather more information and I found this chart below from the ecofx.org website. They actually did the math the compare the environmental and societal effects of paper coffee cup and coffee mug. I found it really convincing too. My sister and her boyfriend actually gave up “defending” and joined me after reading this.

Paper Coffee Cup with sleeve – 16 ounce


Although this profile is a good estimate of the carbon emissions of the average coffee cup, the 2009 Starbucks coffee cup profiled here has a smaller carbon footprint than most coffee cups because Starbucks added 10% post-consumer recycled content to these cups.

CO2 from Environmental Defence Fund edf.org and Starbucks. #ref1

Some of the materials used to make this paper coffee cup (16 ounce) with sleeve.


trees, water, ink, plastic, multiple fuels

CO2 released to make and ship this paper coffee cup (16 ounce) with sleeve.


.11 kg
.25 lb

Loss of natural habitat potential to make and ship this paper coffee cup (16 ounce) with sleeve.


.09 m2
.93 ft2

Loss of plant and animal life potential (in natural habitat) to make and ship this paper coffee cup (16 ounce) with sleeve.


.27 kg
.6 lb

How many paper coffee cups (16 ounce) with sleeves it would takes to trigger 1 potential specie extinction.


1.7 billion

Reusable Coffee Mug


As compared to a paper coffee cup, once a reusable coffee mug has been used 50 to 100 times it has a very small carbon footprint. (A small carbon footprint results from rinsing the reusable coffee cup — especially in hot water.)

Some of the materials that may be used to make a reusable coffee mug.


plastic, steel, water, ink, multiple fuels

CO2 released to use a re-usable coffee mug.


~0 kg
~0 lb

Loss of natural habitat potential to use a re-usable coffee mug.


~0 m2
~0 ft2

Loss of plant and animal life potential (in natural habitat) to use a re-usable coffee mug.


~0 kg
~0 lb

How many times re-usable coffee mugs may be used before they would trigger 1 potential specie extinction.


not/app

I don’t know if I would be able to keep my roommates doing this. But for me, I would definitely continue doing my PSP even after this class. I found it start to fit with my lifestyle very well. Also, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am saving a lot of money myself by getting the discount from cafes and by not buying bottle water (I did the math in the last blog post so I am not doing it again here). For the last 3 weeks, I was just trying to do this myself. But this week, after I successfully convinced my roommates into this, I think I am going to try to talk more of my friends into this.

 (That’s a lot of PAPER)

As I mentioned earlier, some people think that we cannot rely on individuals to make a change. They believe that instead of trying to let people do this and do that to protect this planet, government and companies should try to invent something that is harmless to the planet. I did some research on this too (I actually read this last week and wanted to post it last week but I forgot). If you visit Starbucks’ website, you can actually see that have been doing things for the environment. On their website, it says “Reducing the environmental impact of our cups depends on the success of two interrelated efforts: developing recyclable cup solutions and dramatically increasing our customers’ use of reusable cups. Many of our customers are also working to reduce their own environmental impact even as we are. To help, we offer a 10-cent discount when customers use their own reusable mugsor tumblers for their beverages in company-operated stores in the U.S. and Canada. Customers enjoying their beverage in-store can also request that it be served in a ceramic mug where available” (Starbucks, 2012).

                                                                        

I kept wanting to share this video but I kept forgetting. It is a video that I watched when I first started my PSP from this website called Sustainability is Sexy. Sustainability Is Sexy is a Seattle-based environmental organization. Their mission is to encourage environmentally friendly business practices and consumer habits – without significantly increasing financially costs.  They achieve this through media promotion, organizing public campaigns on targeted issues, educating consumers and businesses through public speaking, and mobilizing young adult consumers in the marketplace.

 I believe there are people out there who are trying to make a difference and I want to be part of it too. I also encourage you, whoever is reading my blog, to be part of this too. It is not that hard, just remember to bring your coffee mug and that’s it.

I forgot to mention that I work in EBGB’S cafe on campus. I am thinking if I can talk to my customers about my PSP and try to encourage them to use coffee mug.  I think that would be kind of awkward and rude though. Anyway, I would continue doing what I have been doing for these four weeks and I would try my best to encourage more people to join me. If you enjoy reading my blogs and you think this is the right thing to do, then you should not hesitate to join me. We can make differences together! 🙂

(P.S. I tried to make the chart above look nicer but for some reason it won’t work :()

Sources:

Spitzer, N. (2009, Jul 30). The impact of disposable coffee cups on the environment . Retrieved from http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/810025/the-impact-of-disposable-coffee-cups-on-the-environment

http://www.ecofx.org

Starbucks. (2012). Starbucks is committed to significantly reducing and diverting the waste our stores generate, and recycling is just one way in which we do this. Retrieved from http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/environment

http://www.sustainabilityissexy.com/index.html

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Comments
  1. julie says:

    My crux has always been smoothie cups. All that plastic, plus I’m tempted to take a paper sleeve to keep my hands from being cold. Time for a change! I think I will start asking them to put my smoothies in my reusable bottle. 🙂

  2. julie says:

    Also, great idea to get your roommates involved!

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