As environmental advocates, we should always seek ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Of course we always have our little actions that we do on daily basis like turning off our lighting systems, air conditioners, heaters and any other electrical equipment when not in use.
However, we need to ask ourselves, is what we do really enough to contribute to the safety of our environment? Definitely not, therefore we need to step into a larger sphere by using environmentally friendly and sustainable products that reduce the use of fossil fuel and one of the ways to do that is by using compostable cups.
Every day, millions of people around the world take their coffee either in a glass cup or conventional disposable cups. This can either be at the restaurants, public gatherings, hotels, homes and streets. According to my observation, in Malaysia, most people take their cup of coffee at the restaurants and cafeterias and the disadvantage of using conventional paper cup is that it contains plastic lining made from petrochemical products that would produce enough heat energy that can be used for other purposes. Not only that but also the waste collection methods in the above places are not convenient enough as most people tend to throw the rubbish to whom it may concern.
On the other hand, a compostable cup is much more eco-friendly than the conventional paper cups because it is 100% made from natural and renewable plant and trees materials. According to research by Brewster Smythe (2011), the compostable cup is made of paperboard coated with polyethylene to avoid liquid spill. It also uses Polylactic acid (PLA) to create a water proof barrier on the paperboard. With this in mind, we can conserve the consumption of non-renewable petrochemicals to make the conventional cups.
One can argue that we can use recycling as a mean to control the waste but practicing it is still the main problem in the community. Most people mix all the wastes in the same bin without separating the recyclable and non-recyclable materials, hence allowing extra cost and time in managing the waste.
All of us want to do our part when it comes to saving our planet and saving energy. Perhaps asking your favorite coffeehouse owner to offer compostable cups could be another step in the right direction or buying compostable cups to use during any occasion and gatherings would save you the cost and time for waste collection.