The good news on reusable mugs and paper cups

At the time of the last drawing, 114 people had registered a mug or reusable cup. With 171 people in the office, about 67% of office staff participated! Some final steps in the plan included encouraging office members to bring in cups and mugs from home to donate to the office so that there would be enough reusable cups and mugs for everyone. The UA Green Team is now looking into discussing with senior management the idea of eliminating the purchase of paper cups in Advancement altogether.

The Eco-Ambassadors/UA Green Team’s success really shows how far a little initiative can go and how successful office environmental campaigns can be! However, it is important to note that although paper cups are now recyclable, they are still not the most sustainable option. It is best to still try to use reusable mugs and glasses whenever possible, but now if you cannot avoid using a paper cup, at least you can remember to recycle it.

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7 comments on this post.
  1. Mark Cave:

    Can you compost the non-wax-lined paper cups (I’m asking based on the understanding that wax-lined cups ARE compostable)? If so, wouldn’t that be peferable to recycling for used paper cups?

    Actually if composting of all paper cups is doable, then perhaps the question becomes, “Taking into account all of the lifecycle costs, which is better, reusable or paper cups/mugs?”

    – Mark Cave

  2. Dawn Quirk:

    Hi Mark,
    My name is Dawn Quirk, the manager of recycling programs at Tufts. A typical paper coffee cup has a plastic coating on the inside, and would have been bleached with chlorine, which is a chemical that I do not believe should be mixed with organic materials. Compostable coffee cups and other disposable-ware purports to be made with environmentally friendly bleaching agents and coatings. That would be the reason that they are compostable, not because composting is the best end of life option. It is my opinion that the best use of a used paper cup is paper paper recycling. Most paper cups are made with high grade virgin white paper which is highly desirable for reuse. Since paper making is an environmentally damaging process, reusing existing paper fibers for another round of paper making would be best.

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