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Four Ways that Disposable Coffee Cups are Ruining the Planet

Posted by Manny Lopez on

7 A.M. Monday morning.

Your alarm clock goes off.

You hit snooze about 4 times.

You rush to get ready.

Grab your keys.

Wait a second! You need some coffee!

Whether you make coffee at home or order some at your local Starbucks, chances are that you’re taking your coffee to-go in a paper or styrofoam cup. Yeah, it’s the easiest and quickest option, but the effects of that small choice are long-term and more harmful than you may realize.


1. Styrofoam Lasts Forever!

Have you ever thought about what happens to a piece of garbage after you throw it away? Probably not. Styrofoam, or its technical name, foamed polystyrene, is the most common way to serve coffee, and is the worst for the environment. Styrofoam can last over 500 years in the ground without ever disintegrating into the Earth, and unfortunately, most recycling companies do not accept styrofoam. Let’s look at some other options.


2. Paper Isn’t Just Paper

Unfortunately, paper cups are not exactly as environmentally friendly as one might think. While paper may seem fine, the standard cups you will get at your local Starbucks are not made entirely out of paper. Most cups include polyethylene, a type of plastic, that ensures that your cup stays intact when in contact with hot liquids. Aside from the fact we all know that plastic is bad for the environment - there is even more destruction with the use of these paper cups that we often forget - it takes an incredible amount of energy to make these cups, and we lose thousands of trees in the process.


3. Plastic #5

Did you even know about the 7 different types of plastic? It’s not exactly common knowledge, but Plastic #5 is what all of your iced coffee’s are served in, and while they may be delicious, they will usually end up sitting in landfills for years to come.


4. Sleeves!

Coffee sleeves may help keep your hands from burning off, but this little piece of cardboard on the millions of coffees sold daily add up to all the already existing, unnecessary waste in our landfills today. With a reusable coffee mug, these protective covers could be completely eliminated!



So coffee-lovers, there is no shame in your game but do your part to make a difference daily and switch to a reusable coffee mug for your daily caffeine fix! It may seem like a small act, but it can make a huge difference!




Mercola - How to Recognize the Plastics That are Hazardous to You




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