It’s challenging to change our mindset about the use of disposable tableware, especially when it comes to cardboard cups for coffee. Even though we are often told that they are biodegradable or recyclable, the reality may not be as clear as it seems.
Let’s take a closer look: the production of cardboard cups requires the harvesting of trees and the use of forest resources. Even if companies claim to use sustainable sources, the continuous demand for disposable cups can still contribute to deforestation.
Moreover, production processes involve the use of energy and water, with environmental impacts ranging from air to water pollution. Additionally, despite cardboard being theoretically recyclable, coffee cups often have a layer of polyethylene or polypropylene to make them waterproof, complicating the recycling process.
The issue continues with disposal. If cardboard cups are not disposed of properly, they contribute to the accumulation of non-biodegradable waste or microplastics dispersed in the environment.
Let’s also consider the health perspective: the inner coating layer in disposable cardboard cups is almost always made with materials like polyethylene or polypropylene to make the cup waterproof. This coating may contain bisphenol A (BPA) or similar chemical compounds, especially if its absence is not explicitly stated.
BPA is an industrial chemical used in the production of plastic and resins, and it has raised concerns due to its potential impact on health. Studies have suggested that exposure to BPA may be associated with negative effects on health, particularly regarding the endocrine system.
The most favorable situation for BPA to migrate from plastic containers to the contained beverage, and thus into the human body, is the use of plastic containers or cups in contact with hot foods or drinks. Considering that coffee reaches 92-95°C during the brewing process, it can be easily deduced that consuming this beverage in a disposable container is the worst of circumstances.
Reusable cups made of stainless steel or recyclable plastic are an alternative that significantly reduces environmental impact. They can be washed and reused many times, contributing to an overall reduction in our ecological footprint.
Il Boschetto committed in 2017 to eliminate the use of single-use plastic by choosing to stop using and selling disposable water bottles. The company has many other sustainability goals to achieve and is committed to eliminating disposable paper cups containing plastic film by 2023.
Choosing reusable alternatives is a small step we can take to reduce our impact on the environment and contribute to a more sustainable future. And who knows, perhaps your next smile will be not only for the good coffee but also for the conscious choice you made.
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