Ask for a Styrofoam Coffee Cup and Go Green!
This debate has been going on for years. The disposable coffee cup has become quite popular after the advent of famous coffee franchises, from which a lot of people get their coffee brewed on a daily basis.
However, as hard as it is to believe, Styrofoam cups are actually the greener choice.
But before we go any further, let us clarify something first. The thing that we call Styrofoam coffee cups are actually polystyrene cups.
Styrofoam, which is a trademark product of the Dow Chemical Company, is not used to make coffee cups at all. Therefore, Styrofoam cups do not exist at all!
Paper cups usually come with cardboard sleeves for insulation. Without one, handling a paper cup filled with hot coffee is impossible for some people.
Furthermore, some people ask for double, even triple paper cups when getting their to-go coffee and with a cardboard sleeve to boot!
On the other hand, polystyrene cups are naturally insulated and don’t require the use of sleeves at all. As a result, paper cups generate more waste than polystyrene cups.
So what? Paper cups biodegrade quickly anyway.
Believe it or not, this is not the case at all. Paper cups do biodegrade, but not as quickly as you might think.
Landfills are designed to inhibit degradation so toxic wastes do not seep into and contaminate the surrounding soil and groundwater. Therefore, 20 years from now, a paper cup will still be a paper cup.
Paper Cups Consume More Raw Materials than Polystyrene Cups
There’s a reason why polystyrene cups are cheaper. To make paper cups, you need to use more raw materials and energy.
However, the paper cup uses another ingredient, which is wood pulp. As a result, the paper cup consumes 12 times as much steam, 36 times more electricity, and twice the amount of cooling water as a polystyrene cup. This is why paper cups cost more than twice than polystyrene cups.
Be More Environmentally Responsible
When we factor all of these in, it seems the polystyrene cup, or the plastic Styrofoam cup, is the greener choice among the two. However, try to be more environmentally responsible and use reusable coffee cups whenever you can.
Travel mugs do exist, and they exist for this purpose. However, if you must use disposable coffee cups, use polystyrene cups instead of paper cups.