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Paper cups; changing how we drink

by Brianna Bush - Editor-in-Chief
Wed, Feb 12th 2020 05:00 pm
Many grocery stores, resturants and coffee shops are taking away their plastic containers and going stricly to paper.  Straws, cups, etc. are the major drinking utensils  making the switch.
Many grocery stores, resturants and coffee shops are taking away their plastic containers and going stricly to paper. Straws, cups, etc. are the major drinking utensils making the switch.

The epidemic that we are facing now isn’t something that can be caught but it can be spread. Around the world, activists and supporters have attempted to cut down the use of single use plastic to try and combat the environmental issues that we face today. One of the main things that we have done in recent years is cut down the distribution of straws.

A question that I pose is, why are we not cutting down the use of plastic cups as well?

On quora.com, someone answered that question.

“Maybe because they [paper cups] are not durable and not cheap,” Amey Bhal wrote. “In India, specifically in Maharashtra, where they have imposed state-wide plastic ban, I was pleasantly surprised how easily vendors have transitioned to replacing plastic with paper or other biodegradable materials. Even the straw is now eco-friendly! They provide solid paper spoons as well! Even the hot tea (chai) is served in paper cups and they are pretty good. Didn’t leak at all! So I think it’s just a matter of a few extra bucks, convenience and dedication to do something good for our environment.”

Many find that it’s all about money when it comes to a corporation doing an environmental switch. Recently, parts of New York State have initiated a plastic bag ban in grocery stores, as well as other select locations. This ban has been in effect for the last few weeks and is continuing to spread through multiple stores and locations.

There is no need for plastic when there are other options available, especially ones that are easy/cheap to make and are composed of biodegradable materials. Many locations have things like straws available, made of recycled materials, like Longhorn Steakhouse.

Unfortunately, other locations, like Starbucks, find that switching to strawless lids is the better solution, even though the lids have almost a gram more of plastic added to it. These lids also come with their own set of problems.

“Reducing the amount of micro-plastics in the ocean thus requires cutting down on the aggregate weight of plastics entering the ocean each year,” according to reason.com “It cannot be stressed enough that straws, by weight, are a tiny portion of this plastic.”

 

Strawless lids provide difficulties for those with disabilities, who can’t make the lip-to-cup motion that is necessary for the strawless lids. Many of the strawless lids also cause problems for those without disability, many of the lids leak — the plastic lacks a complete seal.

To try and combat the issues surrounding the over use of plastic, researchers have put time and effort into other options — reusable and disposable. There are multiple ways that we can fight the use of plastic.

CNN research found that there are multiple bio-options to plastic — biodegradable plastic incorporating spent coffee grounds, cups made out of corn leaves and beeswax, 100% biodegradable cup made of rice husk, replacing plastic lining with banana leaves, grasspaper-cups and cups made from mushroom mycelium and coffee grounds.

Many of these options are still in the process of being approved for mass production, but it is evident that change is being made. The issue of money is the main cause for concern. The eco-friendly options will always be more expensive to make because they take more effort to produce. In most cases businesses, corporations and industries take the cheap option to save money.

Straws aren’t the only problem, even though it seems the world has made it seem so. All plastic is an issue, it is killing our oceans and polluting our landfills. If we want to continue to remain on this planet we have to sustain what is left. We must sustain to remain.

 

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