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hlthe2b

(103,319 posts)
3. I hope they find a way to use waxed (and not plasticized paper) or other compostable materials
Thu May 30, 2024, 10:47 AM
May 30

I take it very seriously that the plasticized layer used on Starbucks and others' paper cups are a potent source of microplastics--that may well explain a big part of the explosion of colon cancer in younger people.

Envirogal

(89 posts)
4. Coated paper is difficult to recycle (even non plastic)
Thu May 30, 2024, 01:00 PM
May 30

Just as a side note, I work in recycling and the holy grail for decades is trying to find paper products that can withstand moisture/liquid AND be able to be easily recycled. Microplastics are a problem but so are the alternatives that have been used that we found were worse, like PFAs (forever chemicals). Plant-based plastics are still not going to get recycled and composters hate them as well. (We also have found many bio plastics still have petroleum-based plastics in them.). I am not sure on the whether we can find an alternative that protects human health since things are constantly evolving, but the decades of false promises on the recyclability/compostability color me skeptical.

The best solution is one we already have, REDUCE SINGLE USE with alternatives like non-plastic reusables that are refilled and also return to the quaint thrifty practice of making things, like coffee and tea, at home and work. Even Starbucks has quit putting all their hopeful eggs into the recycling basket and is accepting customers with their own cups and working towards reusables for those dining in. Make sure to ask them if they offer reusable mugs.

———————————
For those interested in why cups are rarely recycled read on:

That needed moisture barrier that keeps paper from degrading during use compromises the recycling paper value and adds steps to process, all for a low value material (markets!). The ink directly into the paper requires a de-inking process at the mill.

The only way to recycle is for 1) recyclers being able to separate coated paper from the other mixed paper items, 2) be able to make money for the effort, and 3) have enough paper mills willing to buy this material that are equipped to handle it that can also get a Return on their investment and effort. That is a hard sell.

There are about a dozen specialty city recycling (Seattle,
Denver, etc) programs that are now accepting coffee cups but the aforementioned difficulties are still huge barriers to overcome. Meanwhile, billions of these cups (Starbucks alone is around 6 billion) are generated every year with no place to go while everyone continues to use single-use hoping the fateful ‘holy grail’ savior swoops in before they get colon cancer or the discarded mess plague the environment.




hlthe2b

(103,319 posts)
6. While I agree with you on the reusables, there is understandable and intense resistance...
Thu May 30, 2024, 01:12 PM
May 30

among the public (who don't want to have to remember to carry containers with them, among health officials (contamination/food-borne outbreaks), and the retailers/stores themselves--who want "sterile," quick, and uniform--not to mention the easy bar-coded pricing of items they don't have to weigh, nor adjust for the weight of the holding container.

I can't entirely agree with them of course--given I have long used my own containers to buy products in bulk where still available (coop health food stores) and occasionally even the rare Whole Foods where they occasionally still allow it and I prefer my own travel mug(s)... But, I have had annoyed people in coffee shops behind me muttering when I hand it to the employee--who apparently think they are being inconvenienced. I don't know how we can convince all to "go back" to a time when that was routine and accepted. But, I am so over all this plastic.

Envirogal

(89 posts)
5. Many cities in California have/are banning these, too
Thu May 30, 2024, 01:06 PM
May 30

Los Angeles is on its way and my city in LA County’s ban goes into effect July 1st. While the technical term for foam is polystyrene, this also includes the puffed up block expanded polystyrene (EPS) and plastic resin form in the #6 inside the recycling symbol triangle. (Also sometimes listed as PS.). Our town is banning all #6 which includes the red plastic party cups and coffee lids.

hunter

(38,564 posts)
7. They were banned in my community more than a decade ago.
Thu May 30, 2024, 04:40 PM
May 30

If a takeout place or restaurant is caught using them it's a $100 fine for the first offense and escalates from there.

I don't remember anyone saying goodbye.



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