Americans drink A LOT of coffee. We consume 400 million cups of coffee a day, and the U.S. population is only 325 million! And unfortunately, many of those cups can’t be recycled because the inside is coated with polyethylene, a type of plastic that prevents the liquid from seeping through the paper cup.
Another problem with coffee cups is that they can’t be made from 100% recycled material- not yet anyway. The FDA has some pretty strict regulations put in place about recycled material that comes in direct contact with food or drink. Starbucks uses cups that are made from 10% recycled material, but the rest is made out of new paper.
Think about all the resources that go into making a cup of coffee. There’s the energy to brew the coffee, coffee grounds, the filter, the paper cup, and any additional add-ons such as coffee collars or stirring sticks. Not to mention all the waste that is created: waste water, waste coffee grounds, and non-recyclable paper. Now imagine how much waste is created from 400 million servings of coffee. It’s insane!
A solution for this? Reusable coffee cups! While this doesn’t get rid of all the waste created by coffee consumption, using them will prevent a lot of cups from going to landfills.
Also, we need to STOP USING STIRRING STICKS AND COFFEE COLLARS. These are unnecessary resources that create a lot of waste! Instead of using a stirrer, put your cream and sugar in your coffee cup first, and then fill it with coffee.
Here’s a few sites where you can buy your own reusable coffee cups! Starbucks has some really cool ones on their website, but they’re a bit pricey. But take a look around of you’re looking for something inexpensive- mine was only $4 and I’ve seen them for as cheap as $2!
You can find reusable coffee cups in plenty of stores- Walmart, the Dollar Store, Target, etc. Find one that works for you and make a commitment to reduce your paper waste!