Disposable coffee cups affect the environment negatively. Besides creating a steady supply of waste (over 30 billion thrown away a year), disposable cups also demand a large consumption of natural resources and emit high levels of climate-changing green house gases. Coffee is such a popular beverage consumed world-wide, the environmental affect of disposable coffee cups is staggering. Fortunately, there are alternatives- bring your own coffee mug to coffee shops!
If you were to buy one cup of coffee or tea in a disposable cup everyday, you would end up creating 23 pounds of coffee cup waste in one year. Every disposable coffee cup manufactured is responsible for 0.24 pounds of CO2 emissions. Disposable coffee cups are laminated with a plastic resin called polyethylene. This helps keep beverages warm and prevents the paper from absorbing liquids and leaking. The plastic also prevents the cup from being recycled. Every paper cup that is manufactured and coated with plastic resin ends up in a landfill.
So it's time to start bringing your own cup. Most coffee shops will honor bringing in your personal mugs and travel mugs. Some even offer a discount for bringing your own mug (including Starbucks!). Check with your regular coffee shop if they can start filling up your personal mug, and start cutting disposable coffee cups out of your life!