Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Surrealistic Sustainability

The last time I was at Shade Tree Coffee, I found out that their plastic cups are 100% compostable, because they are made from corn. I'd never noticed. This morning, I decided to look at Saladelia's cups at the Perk, because that's where I felt guilty about ordering beverages in plastic cups most frequently. By golly, it was the very same kind of NatureWorks corn polymer cup. I haven't checked yet, but I'm betting the ones from Twinnie's are made from corn, too.
I also noticed that it said on the bottom that it should only be used for cold beverages. I guess that didn't register.

This afternoon, I decided to refill my cup with water from our water cooler. I prefer drinking water if it it's lukewarm, rather than cold. Our water cooler has buttons for both hot and cold water, so I usually add some hot water and it's fairly random which I put in the cup first. This afternoon, I added the hot first and the cup instantly melted and deformed. It was really cool, as you can see. You couldn't set it on a flat surface anymore and I wasn't about to drink the water afterwards, but my plants were happy.

Now, I haven't done enough research to determine whether or not the corn being grown to create the NatureWorks polymers are displacing other food crops or trees in the rain forest are being cut down in order to grow it, as is apparently the case for corn destined for bio-fuels, but there is no doubt in my mind that we have to find some solution for all of the plastics that are being created that aren't being recycled and are left to accumulate in the oceans, landfills or worse. I also now know that melting your cup is very entertaining.

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