I loved this article on Slate which discusses the issue of using mugs vs. Styrofoam cups for drinking coffee. The conclusion isn’t just “Mugs good. Styrofoam bad.” — it’s way more systematic than that. I rarely see controversial issues dissected at the system level like this, and I cherish system-level analysis almost as much as I cherish coffee.
From the article:
My office recently switched from Styrofoam coffee cups to a “bring your own mug” policy. Sounds like the right idea, but with all the water and paper towels we now waste on washing mugs, I’m not sure this is a huge net gain for the environment. What is the “greenest” way to drink coffee around the office?
Spoiler: they don’t recommend doing away with coffee altogether!