Cute "Sipping Sleeves" Keep Hands Cool, But Keep Us Hooked on Unsustainable Cups
Nichole Oppenheim saw a problem - people adding those paper jackets to their daily latté paper cups. It was not only wasteful, she felt, but unnecessary. Cardboard sleeves, says one web site, can add up to 10 lbs of extra waste to your personal garbage pile each year.
Oppenheim also saw a solution and a business idea - bring-your-own stylishly decorated reusable sleeve made from "eco-felt" from recycled bottles as well as cotton scraps. She even packages her "Sipping Sleeves" in old, repurposed plastic medicine bottles. Too bad Nichole's great idea, which is very cute and has a reuse-recycle ethic, doesn't really help us with our dangerous addiction...to paper coffee cups and plastic lids.220 billion served annually and growingThe problem is that we are using more paper - 50 million trees per year. Nobody sums it up better than writers M. William Helfrich and Justin Westcoat Sanders in a recent Portland Mercury article. Commuter cup use, at least among Starbuck's patroms, according to them is going down. But the rise of consumer culture in China is keeping the paper cup market strongly growing - 130 billion used in North America annually.
One bright note: Taiwan drastically reduced paper cup usage at schools and other public places by limiting usage and setting goals for reduction. Is it time for paper cup legislation?
Because currently, though recycling does happen, paper cups mostly end up in the garbage - neither recycled nor composted. Just as the Natural Resource Defense Council has said that no forest should be cut down to make toilet tissue, it seems like a corollary that no trees should be cut down to make paper cups. We have the tools - commuter cups - and we need to use them, and perhaps (again) demand that coffee culture give more of a carrot to those of us that are already in the reusable cup mode, and more of a stick to those of us that aren't there yet. So before you buy Oppenheim's cute solution to paper jackets, make sure to get yourself a commuter cup first. Via: Etsy.comRead more at TreeHugger and Planet GreenBring Your Own: Reusable Bags, Cups, and MoreMake That Coffee Cup Porcelain, Not PaperLock Cup: Your Sustainable Office Coffee Cup and KeyEco-Tip: Coffee Cups - Spilling the Beansand on Planet GreenGreen Tea & Coffee, From the Archives