Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Green cup to go?

I went to the cafe at Emily Carr for a coffee today and I was pleasently surprised to see that they had made an upgrade in their cups (they used to have those foam covered ones!!) The new cups are these Ecotainers made by International Paper Foods. On their website, they claim that it is a "more environmentally sensitive alternative to standard paper packaging" and that it is made from fully renewable resources and can be compostable under proper conditions. These seem like some ambiguous words to me.

I tried to find some negative feedback on these but from my limited search I couldn't find any. Some sites claimed that they had to be composted in commercial composts, what are these? The one at UBC? And what does "made from fully renewable resources" mean? Renewable in what time frame? Is the paper that they are using from trees that take 1 year to regrow or 50? What they do refer to and I support, is their elimination of petrochemicals in the cup. The waterproof coating is now made from corn polymer. But I wonder how much corn it takes to coat one cup? And how much land is being used to grow this corn?
The one thing I have found out though, is that my rant is not new... In Habitat ran an article almost two years ago stating (as read on other sites) that 14.4 billion cups were used in 2005 - enough to wrap the earth 55 times!! With those stats I suppose that taking any bite out of that pile of garbage is good....

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