Taking Personal Responsibility for Reducing Carbon Emissions

I’m guilty.

I’m guilty of something I should know better than to do, and I am doing it as I type this.

It’s Tuesday afternoon, and as per ritual I am sitting in a coffee shop and writing. Also, as per usual, I am drinking out of a paper cup. I have four travel cups and five metal water bottles at my house that is not two blocks from here, yet I have two paper cups sitting next to me; one with coffee, the other with water. I’m vowing, as I type this, to break this habit by educating myself. Ready to join me?

I’m turning to one of my favorite websites for information.

  • The manufacturing of one paper cup produces .24 pounds of CO2 emissions. (Seriously? My God, this is nearly half a pound of CO2 emissions in front of me, and I am just one person in this café that serves hundreds per day. Hold on…

Okay, I just talked to the café manager who told me this tiny place, despite the fact that they also use ceramic cups, uses 500 paper cups per week. That’s 120 POUNDS of CO2 emissions just from the paper cups PER WEEK. Dear Lord, how many does Starbucks use?)

  • Using one paper cup per day generates 23 pounds of waste per year. (Yep, this hole in the wall is using 500 cups per week, times 52 weeks in a year, divided by 364 days, times 23, equals 1,638 pounds of trash per year JUST FROM PAPER CUPS!)
  • Now let’s add in this little gem; “In order to make bright white paper plates, the pulp resulting from wood fibers must be bleached with chlorine compounds, one of the most hazardous industrial chemicals to use. According to Catalina Logan at Livestrong.com, these chemicals are “known cancer-causing agents, and are also suspected of causing developmental, reproductive, and immune system damage in living organisms including humans.”

I’m pretty sure that from now on I’m going to remember to bring my travel mug. I’ve also set a reminder to go off thirty minutes before I leave each day to take it with me. Lesson learned.

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One Comment

  1. N. Stevenson Jennette III

    Diane, Could not agree more. Two years ago I made a commitment to taking my car out only for long trips, and walking, or riding my bike, or taking the bus. It was difficult, but I managed to stay pretty much on track with my pledge. Nice post. Well researched, and as always, well written.


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