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To-go paper cups are not eco-friendly and here is why.

To-go paper cups are not eco-friendly and here is why.

Hello, how was your coffee today?

Isn’t “But, first coffee” a famous corporate culture nowadays? It is a way of team-bonding and kick-starting the day. Am sure, most of us are attuned to start our day with coffee or chai. Fair enough, we are all almost the same.

Each morning, when I held my seemingly papermade takeaway coffee mug, I had his hidden sense of achievement that I have done my bit by opting for paper cup and throwing it in the bin. Until one day, when I was utterly shocked to learn that those coffee cups are not recyclable and more than 99% rot in landfills. Wait, what? Aren’t they supposedly made out of paper?

Here’s what I found. The cups are 95% paper and 5% plastic lining (polyethylene coating) that makes them non-recyclable. Most facilities don’t recycle paper cups because to do so, they would have to separate the plastic lining from the paper. Many recyclers find that process to be more trouble than it’s worth.

Every minute more than 8000 “paper” cups are sent to landfills, where they stay forever. Even if they decompose, they take decades to turn into micro-plastics which are even worse for the environment.

Crazily, according to the nonprofit Clear Water Fund, “Eighty percent of the pollution happens upstream during the extraction and manufacturing phase of the product’s life-cycle before it even reaches a consumer’s hands. Transporting used cups to a landfill or recycling facility is energy intensive.”.

Of course, the ultimate sustainable way to enjoy coffee from a café is to sit down with a ceramic mug and sip it mindfully, like they did in the old days. But then, in our ever increasing to-go culture, who’s got time for that these days?

Worry not! Global giants like Starbucks are now rising to the situation and trying to launch a completely decomposable cup. Until then, consider carrying a flask or a keep cup to make your coffee routine more sustainable for the environment. You might just end up saving over 4,900 cups from going to landfills by the end of a decade, alone. How mindful and responsible is that?

Now that we know, why not share it with our coffee buddies and multiply the impact. Our planet will thank us!

Sumedha - Your Eco Storyteller.

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