Paper or ceramic dilemma

May 1st, 2009 3:31 pm


I’m reading this very interesting book on sustainability. It’s titled “Design is the problem. The future of design must be sustainable” by Nathan Shedroff. I am half way through it but could not wait until I’m done with it completely to share my thoughts on this very hot topic: PAPER OR CERAMIC.


If you are an independent professional who technically works out of home, you probably spend a ton of time in coffee shops! To not go crazy in the “privacy” of your home office, you must get out sometime, enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee, free WIFI, mingling atmosphere. If you are at all like me, you would put their mailing address on your biz card (if you could); you are there that often. A frequent visitor status should come with a personal coffee mug perk, don’t you think. But consider this – would that really be better for the environment. Nathan Shedroff argues that theory. He does a great job clarifying the difference in environmental impact of recycled paper cup and a ceramic/glass cup, so that next time you are asked “For here or to go”, you can have a firm answer ready.

“It would take 70 uses of the ceramic mug to offset the water, energy and materials used in the production of paper cups. So, for a single use, the paper cup is far better. In fact, for up 69 uses, the paper cups (all 69 of them) would be better for the environment”.

I know. I was shocked too. Thanks to greenwashing effect, we all think that recycled materials and products are so much better that we loose sight of the real issue.

So, now that you have this data, do you want to grab coffee sometime (paper or ceramic?), and discuss this further? I’d be happy to 🙂

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