Submitted by: Eileen Guo
Actually… it’s alright to drink coffee, but think twice before purchasing a cup of coffee, as the cups make a huge carbon footprint. Though coffee is sold in paper cups, less than 1% of coffee cups will actually be recycled, even though you may be throwing them away in the recycling bin. This is because most of those cups are tightly lined with plastic; as a result, the coffee (or leftover liquid) gets stuck in the cups, making the cups almost impossible to be recycled.
Your weekly, even daily, trips to Peet’s and Starbucks are hurting the environment: 20 million trees are cut down every year just to make paper cups. In the UK, 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away, but that’s nothing compare to the United States: 60 billion cups end up in the landfill each year.
In order to cut down on waste, the UK is planning to add a 34 cent tax—the Latte Levy—to the to-go cup. They hope it will make people and businesses leave paper cups behind. Additionally, the tax serves as an investment in reprocessing facilities (facilities that specialize in reprocessing these cups).
Do we Americans have the initiative to reduce our paper cup usage, or will we one day need to resort to a Latte Levy to help the environment? The choice is yours.