How environmental friendly are you?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Frank, Jun 1, 2011.

?

What cup do you use most often?

  1. Ceramic cup, hand wash

    23 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Ceramic cup, dishwasher

    15 vote(s)
    32.6%
  3. Paper cup, recycle it

    2 vote(s)
    4.3%
  4. Paper cup, garbage bin

    1 vote(s)
    2.2%
  5. Plastic cup, garbage bin

    2 vote(s)
    4.3%
  6. Styrofoam cup

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Don't care

    3 vote(s)
    6.5%
  1. Frank

    Frank Certified not a majority
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    Well, I was wondering.

    Some explanation:

    "Ceramic cup, hand wash" is the least environmentally friendly choice. Simply because a ceramic cup takes about 70 times the energy to produce than a styrofoam one, washing one with a 3/4 loaded dishwasher takes about the same amount of energy, water and chemicals, and that dishwasher takes about half the energy, a sixth of the water and less soap than doing it by hand.

    "Paper cup, recycle it" is quite bad as well, because paper takes a lot of energy and chemicals, the cups aren't made of recycled paper due to contamination concerns, and if you throw some in with the paper to be recycled, it adds plastic to it and makes that batch unusable.

    "Styrofoam cup, throw it away" is by far the most environmentally sound choice. The only thing you can say against it, is that it biodegrades slower than a paper one, although it falls apart faster.

    And a plastic, single-use bottle beats a glass one easily as well.
     
  2. Squilliam

    Squilliam Beyond3d isn't defined yet
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    I reuse a plastic water bottle, to be frank I think that makes me awesome. :)
     
  3. Sxotty

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    Cite your source Frank. I have seen a study like this, but the assumptions are hugely important. The results can come out completely different depending.
     
  4. AlphaWolf

    AlphaWolf Specious Misanthrope
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    citation needed

    and I sincerely hope you include shipping costs for 1000's of styrofoam cups vs the single ceramic cup.
     
  5. RudeCurve

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    Styrofoam fills up landfills....imagine the space needed for just one single person's lifetime use who drinks several times a day...

    New style packing styrofoam can be recycled by dissolving it in water but then it would be useless as a cup that is supposed to hold water....

    Glass or ceramic cups can be cleaned with water but water is recycled so who cares?
     
    #5 RudeCurve, Jun 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2011
  6. Davros

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    cannot believe a dishwasher can wash a cup in a sixth of the water of handwashing that would be about 20ml
     
  7. hoho

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    You can wash a whole lot of cups at once in a dishwasher while using just a couple of liters of water for the whole machine-full of stuff.

    I do have one question though, what is the source material for styrofoam? If it's based on oil or any other non-recoverable resource then I definitely wouldn't list it as an environmentally good thing to mass produce them just to get thrown away
     
  8. Frank

    Frank Certified not a majority
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    Ok, I agree it depends on what you do with the garbage. If you throw it on the street, it clutters the landscape. If you throw it in a garbage bin and the contents of that are thrown in a landfill, no energy recuperation takes place. If you burn it in an incinerator and use that to generate electricity (very common over here), the impact of a polystyrene cup is neglectible.
     
  9. Frank

    Frank Certified not a majority
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    Oil, gas or other hydrocarbons. And it's environmentally much better to put it to good use before burning it.
     
  10. hoho

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    Perhaps but it still releases extra carbon to the environment while reusing a ceramic cup doesn't. Also, oil is not an infinite resource, it's rather stupid to waste it on pointless things.
     
  11. Frank

    Frank Certified not a majority
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    Then again, about 2% of all the oil is used to make plastics, the rest is simply burned.
     
  12. hoho

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    That's pretty much the same as to say it's OK to do carmageddon-style human-gibbing as tons of people die every day anyway :)
     
  13. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    I'm single. I don't create enough dirty dishes to fill up a whole dishwasher in any reasonable amount of time.

    Handwashing my ceramic teacup (which I only do every once in a while; it's just a friggin' teacup :)) is by far the most environmentally sound choice due to the amount of tea I consume. I can drink 2 full pots a day, 3 has happened on occasion.

    Btw, I'm by nature very suspicious of any surveys, polls or other forms of analysis that claims non-recycled packagings are the most environmentally friendly choice, because these typically have an agenda behind them, and that obviously being selling more packaging material and making more money for factory and/or petrochemical industry owners.
     
  14. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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    I have a wife, two kids and usually 1-3 friends of kids eating at my house every day. We fill a dishwasher as well as a counter for air-drying, hand-washed pots and pans at least once per day. Twice on weekends. If I used paper or styrofoam plates or cups, or plastic flatware, I would be an environmental nightmare.

    My dishwasher is a top-rated Bosch and I never run it less than packed full. I don't feel bad.
     
  15. Frank

    Frank Certified not a majority
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    I don't know how it is in the US, but over here if you buy coffee to take away, you get it in a paper cup, because everyone knows that's much more environmentally friendly than a plastic or styrofoam cup. While that styrofoam one keeps it warm and prevents you from burning your hands.

    So, it's inconvenient and environmentally much worse, but it's expected to make people feel better.

    Educating people that that styrofoam cup is actually better in all respects makes more sense to me.
     
  16. Mize

    Mize 3dfx Fan
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  17. nutball

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    "Simply because a ceramic cup takes about 70 times the energy to produce than a styrofoam one"

    Produce? Or produce, transport to place of usage, transport away as garbage, etc.?!

    A ceramic cup can be used many more than 70 times of course.

    Seems to me that the most environmentally friendly option would be to train people to drink hot coffee straight from the pump without any intermediary container. Or at the very least sit down and drink the coffee at a table then return the cup, rather than this obssession with take-outs.

    While we're on the subject, what's the relative environmental cost of getting the cup of choice to the coffee shop compared to growing, processing and transporting the coffee beans to the coffee shop? Might it be better if we in the West stopped drinking tea and coffee sourced from far afield, and took up making drinks from stuff we grow locally?!

    See these things can quickly get ridiculous if you choose to focus on just one element in the chain.
     
  18. zed

    zed
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    I never wash my cup (just some hot water in it first & tip out) Hell I never do the dishes, just run hot water over them before I use them

    Frank, everyones still waiting for your citations/proof
     
  19. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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    We have kids. We use plastic kids cups and things like rutters or restaurant plastic cups etc all the time for ourselves as well and they're washed in the dishwasher. Where's that choice, or am we fairly unique?
     
  20. Sxotty

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    In the study I saw the hot water was the problem. So the question is how do you get your hot water? If you have a solar water heater for example then suddenly the results change completely. And I don't think that his ranking was right anyway. (Just that you can come up with results that say throwaway cups are better than ceramic)
     
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