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Oct. 15th, 2002

which is more wasteful:
washing a cup with hot water, or throwing away a paper cup?


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 15th, 2002 09:43 am (UTC)
Running a measuring cup, that has only been used to measure water, through the dishwasher.
Oct. 15th, 2002 10:13 am (UTC)
Asking the question in the first place is more wasteful than either. What do I win?
Oct. 15th, 2002 01:20 pm (UTC)
I certainly do not believe my questions about the world are a waste of time.

we have these tiny paper cups in the office. You can barely dissolve one packet of swiss miss in them. Then we have the mugs, but I notice that when our receptionist washes them, she takes awhile and lots of water gets used. I was more curious, than anything.

Oct. 15th, 2002 01:59 pm (UTC)
I found this with Google.

Example: Styrofoam cups vs. paper cups vs. reusable mugs. Dutch Environment Ministry:

The biggest problem with reusable coffee cups is the water and energy required to clean them. Washing a porcelain cup and saucer once, in an average dishwasher, has a greater impact on water resources than either a paper cup or a styrofoam cup. In contrast, porcelain cups have less impact on air, energy consumption, and volume of trash. If a reusable coffee cup is used twice before being washed, then it becomes energy-efficient relative to Styrofoam cups after 114 uses, and less than 100 uses to be energy-efficient relative to paper. Even fewer reuses are required for the reusable mug to be more air pollution–efficient and landfill volume–efficient.

Oct. 15th, 2002 02:29 pm (UTC)
Paper cups can be recycled, so little to no waste there. Styrofoam... I don't know if that can be recycled or not. I don't even know what it's made out of. heh

Probably the best solution is to bring a small plastic thermos to work with you and you can put your coffee in there. It'll keep it nice and warm so all the benefits of styrofoam. And you can just run a bit of water into it to wash the residual coffee out and just put it in the dishwasher every few days to give it a thorough washing and that'll save on water. The only real reason to even rinse the thermos out after using it is so the sugar in the coffee doesn't attract bugs and bacteria. Beyond that, giving it a dishwasher wash like twice a week (or however often you run your dishwasher... assuming you have one) will kill any bacteria that are on the cup or inside it. No need to do it every day though.
Oct. 15th, 2002 07:43 pm (UTC)
Paper cups can be recycled, yes (and obviously this only matters if they're put someplace where they'll actually get recycled.) But recycling takes energy, too. And recycling has some waste products, too.

As a rule, reuse first (the wash-a-mug option), then recycle.
Oct. 15th, 2002 08:08 pm (UTC)
I Am Bad
I must be a real waster: I wash out paper cups :)

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )