Students, faculty and staff urged to "break up with your cup"

March 21, 2012 - 3:45am

VIU students Laura Timmermans and Clint Haley are urging the Nanaimo campus community to take a pledge to use travel mugs rather than disposable cups.

They were in the courtyard in front of the Library Wednesday giving out free coffee to those with travel mugs.

Timmermans, a graphic arts student, makes her case for sustainability in a news release:

Break up with your cup, and pledge to do your part in saving the earth. Every small step counts.

Here are some motivation facts to help you start today!

• Over 50% of Americans over 18, drink coffee every day.

• That means over 150 million daily drinkers.

• Adding up to 400 million cups of coffee a day

• In total, 146 billion cups of coffee per year

Americans throw away about 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year, and 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles every hour.
Most of these materials do not biodegrade. The plastic resin applied over most paper cups makes them nearly impossible to biodegrade.

Styrofoam never degrades completely.

It means if you buy just one cup of coffee or tea in a disposable cup every day, you’ll end up creating about 23 lbs of waste in one year. That is a lot!!

How the Cups are made

Styrofoam cups are made from the material called polystyrene, a type of plastic, which is a modified petroleum product (that’s oil for those who don’t know).

Paper cups are also usually not made from all-natural materials. Most paper cups for hot beverages are coated in polyethylene to increase their durability and water resistance. This also prevents the cups from being recycled. There are new types of biodegradable and compostable paper cups available, regardless of this fact; most disposable beverage cups still end up in landfills.

So 500 years from now, the polystyrene cup you toss out today will still exist either in a landfill or somewhere in our environment.


Tags: In the Community

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