Is the ‘inconvenience’ of a reusable coffee mug worth all that CO2?

Every year the world uses approximately 500 billion disposable plastic cups each year, and 16 billion of that is paper cups alone.

Seeing as there are 7.8 billion people in the world, this means that the average amount of disposable cups used per person per year is approximately 64 cups per person. Is bringing a reusable mug so much of an inconvenience that it justifies using 64 cups average per person per year?

However, some places fill a disposable cup first then pour the coffee into your reusable mug, making a reusable mug pointless. With paper straws being such a hot topic and completely biodegradable, you might think “oh well, these are paper cups so they must be biodegradable as well.”

Well this is not the case. These cups may be paper cups, however, they have a plastic coating on the inside of their cups to help the paper not absorb the liquid inside. Because of this plastic inside of the cups, recycling plants do not take these cups and just send them to the landfill.

So how much does Campbell River contribute? Based on what I saw from stores I went to and cups I counted, we use about 50 cups in 10 minutes; (if we don’t count the cups sold through the drive-throughs and only count coffee shops). Not only do these cups cause problems with the plastic inside but CO2 is needed when the cups are being made and shipped.

According to a study done by Starbucks in April of 2000, it’s estimated that 0.24 lbs of CO2 is made per paper cup. Seeing as there’s 16 billion of those cups in the landfill, that makes 3.84 billion lbs of CO2 produced per year just for paper cups.

Now, using the 50 cups in 10 minutes in Campbell River, this means in one day we create approximately 576 lbs of CO2 per day off these cups that are only paper and not counting drive-throughs either (I counted a day as eight hours seeming the 50 cup average wouldn’t be the same at night).

In conclusion, is your daily coffee worth all this? Next time just take an extra minute and bring a reusable mug to start helping make a difference; remember doing something good and simple can make a big difference.

Brenton Thompson

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