Paper cup

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____ environmental impact of a paper cup ____

Estimated carbon footprint, loss of natural habitat potential, loss of plant and animal life potential and/or extinction potential from making, packaging, shipping and/or using these products or services.
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+ Except for CO2 emissions, estimates are based on Habitat, Life, Extinction Formulas v2 via ecofx.org. +
Estimates do not include the possible long-term ecological effects of climate change and persistent toxins.
Formulas use "human appropriated net primary production (HANPP)" to "CO2 emissions" correlation.
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1 kg(kilogram) = 2.2 lb(pounds)     1 m2(square meter) = 10.8 ft2(square feet)
1 km(kilometers) = .62 mi(miles)     1 liter = .26 gallons

Paper Coffee Cup with sleeve - 16 ounce
Although this profile is a good estimate of the carbon emissions of the average coffee cup, the 2009 Starbucks coffee cup profiled here has a smaller carbon footprint than most coffee cups because Starbucks added 10% post-consumer recycled content to these cups.


CO2 from Environmental Defence Fund edf.org and Starbucks. #ref1
Some of the materials used to make this paper coffee cup (16 ounce) with sleeve.
trees, water, ink, plastic, multiple fuels
CO2 released to make and ship this paper coffee cup (16 ounce) with sleeve.
.11 kg
.25 lb
Loss of natural habitat potential to make and ship this paper coffee cup (16 ounce) with sleeve.
.09 m2
.93 ft2
Loss of plant and animal life potential (in natural habitat) to make and ship this paper coffee cup (16 ounce) with sleeve.
.27 kg
.6 lb
How many paper coffee cups (16 ounce) with sleeves it would takes to trigger 1 potential specie extinction.
1.7 billion
Reusable Coffee Mug
As compared to a paper coffee cup, once a reusable coffee mug has been used 50 to 100 times it has a very small carbon footprint. (A small carbon footprint results from rinsing the reusable coffee cup -- especially in hot water.)
Some of the materials that may be used to make a reusable coffee mug.
plastic, steel, water, ink, multiple fuels
CO2 released to use a re-usable coffee mug.
~0 kg
~0 lb
Loss of natural habitat potential to use a re-usable coffee mug.
~0 m2
~0 ft2
Loss of plant and animal life potential (in natural habitat) to use a re-usable coffee mug.
~0 kg
~0 lb
How many times re-usable coffee mugs may be used before they would trigger 1 potential specie extinction.
not/app

Contents

Summaries

A study of one paper coffee cup with sleeve (16 ounce) shows that the CO2 emissions is about .11 kilograms (.25 pounds) per cup with sleeve - including paper from trees, materials, production and shipping.http://www.edf.org/documents/523_starbucks.pdf The loss of natural habitat potential from the paper coffee cup (16 ounce) with a sleeve is estimated to be .09 square meters (.93 square feet).

Extras

Over 6.5 trees were cut down to make make 16 billion paper cups used by US consumers in 2006. Plus, 16 billion paper cups uses 4 billion gallons of water and results in 253 million pounds of waste. Every tree used for paper cups is also removed from the ecosystem and can no longer absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen or filter groundwater. Trees are used to make the bleached virgin paperboard that is used to make most paper cups.http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/environment/paper-unsustainable/ </ref>

Unfortunately, very little recycled paper is used to make paper cups because of contamination concerns and regulations. Because most paper cups are coated with plastic, both composting and recycling of paper cups is uncommon.

Although paper cups are made from renewable resources (wood chips 95% by weight), paper products in a landfill may not decompose, or may release methane if decomposed anerobically. The manufacture of paper requires inorganic chemicals and creates large amounts of water effluents.

Paper cups may consume more non-renewable resources than cups made of polystyrene foam (whose only significant effluent is pentane). fact?

PE is a petroleum based coating on paper cups that can slow down the process of biodegrading. PLA is a biodegradable bio-plastic coating used on some paper cups. PLA is a renewable resource and makes paper cups more compostible, whereas PE is not renewable and is not compostible. http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/environment/paper-unsustainable/

References

1. http://www.edf.org/documents/523_starbucks.pdf p.25 Report of the Alliance for Environmental Innovation and Starbucks 2000 (with the Environmental Defense Fund) (Although this report is a good estimate of the carbon emissions of the average coffee cup, the current Starbucks coffee cup has a smaller carbon footprint because Starbucks has added 10% post-consumer recycled content to it cups.)

Ecomedia

External links

wikipedia:Paper cup

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