Do you need your morning, noon and night java? We Americans have a serious love affair with our coffee. Unfortunately, we’ve also developed an all-too-close relationship with coffee at a convenience. If you grab your coffee on the go, you create a lot of waste for that coffee-loving habit. Even if you try to go the green route and recycle your cups, those disposable coffee cups aren’t as recyclable as you might think. Come on, java-lover! If you haven’t started using your own reusable tumbler for your daily coffee, why not? These reasons should convince you.
1. In a word: Styrofoam
Americans throw away about 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If you do anything to eco-ize your coffee routine, do this one: Resist grabbing a Styrofoam cup to hold your morning brew.
This bad boy is the worst-of-the-worst when it comes to disposable coffee cups. Made from polystyrene, a type of plastic derived from petroleum, Styrofoam cups never fully degrade. That Styrofoam cup you drank your favorite brew out of this morning will still be around 500 years from now.
2. Paper isn’t as eco as you think
Your eco-loving heart may not feel quite so bad if you reach for a disposable paper cup to hold your coffee. After all paper degrades quickly and doesn’t harm the environment, right? Unfortunately, that disposable paper cup the barista handed you isn’t made of paper only. Disposable paper coffee cups are lined with polyethylene, a type of plastic. This coating prevents your cup from turning to mush while you enjoy your favorite latte, but it also means these cups can’t be easily recycled.
From the Organic Authority Files
Besides their difficulty to recycle, paper cups also pose a sustainability issue. Think about the energy used to simply create the cups. And, twenty million trees are cut down every year just for the manufacture of paper cups.
3. Filtered out
Although brewing a pot of java at home can save some costs on the environment (and your budget), you still create a bit of unnecessary waste with that paper coffee filter. Just think about how many filters your java addiction fuels. One a day? Two? Three? Sure, you can compost that filter, but why not stop the waste entirely? Instead, choose a reusable coffee filter for your machine.
4. Problems with plastic
We’re no fans of plastic at Organic Authority, and that includes disposable plastic cups. Even if they have a tasty iced coffee drink inside them. Most plastic iced coffee cups are made from plastic #5, which isn’t readily recyclable at many curbside-recycling programs. That means most disposable plastic cups end up clogging a landfill. It’s just not worth that caffeine jolt. If you need your iced coffee fix, bring in your own reusable tumbler to your favorite coffee shop.
5. Coffee sleeves: The unnecessary add on
Sure, coffee sleeves prevent your fingertips from burning on that piping hot coffee cup, but that’s nothing that your own reusable mug can’t handle. That little cardboard sleeve may recycle easily, but it still means pointless waste. Go sleeveless!