A quick trip to the coffee shop on your way to work, a hot beverage for a long journey, or a warm drink to keep you refreshed. Every time you purchase a drink in a takeaway coffee cup, you are unnecessarily adding to the overwhelming pressure on the environment.
Taking the Trees Away
Probably the most obvious impact of overusing paper cups is the number of tress that are felled in order to create them. Unless those trees are replaced, cutting them down removes oxygen from the air – a resource that is vital for our own life, and also means that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increased. The more trees we have in our world, the better for us.
In order to ensure the paper cup doesn’t disintegrate when filled with hot liquid, it is covered in a thin layer of polyethylene resin coating. This helps to keep the drink warmer for longer and toughens up the exterior of the cup. It also means that you can’t throw your paper cup into your recycling bin, so off to landfill it goes for at least 30 years. Once they begin to biodegrade, the methane released from the plastic coating has severe consequences for the environment, adding to the problem of greenhouse gases that are impacting our ozone layer.
The main issue with paper coffee cups is with the glue that is used to hold them all together. It is thought that trace amounts of melamine are released into your hot drink when it is poured into the cup and comes into contact with that glue. The amount of melamine leached into the drink is minimal, but if you are drinking lots of coffee out of disposable paper cups on a regular basis, the toxins will build up in your body, putting you at greater risk of issues such as diarrhea, bladder stones and cancer. It could even make you more likely to gain weight.
Alternatives to Paper Coffee Cups
Over the years, manufacturers have tested out many different styles of coffee cup. On occasion, you may find your coffee served in a Styrofoam cup. Unfortunately, the chemicals present in this material are far more prolific than those in a paper coffee cup. Styrofoam cannot be recycled and will never decompose, so it is an even less favourable option.
The only really sensible option is to purchase a reusable coffee cup such as the ones on sale at HydrateM8. Lightweight and easy to clean, you can take it with you wherever you go, so that you always have a hot drink to hand. Most coffee shops are happy to fill your reusable coffee cup instead of one of their own disposable ones and some may even offer a slight discount too, making it great for the environment, better for your health and gentler on the wallet!