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« Two years later | Main | On scientific freedom »

Thinking, or not thinking, about coffee

Today's "stupidity signalling" story is the mainstream media's excitement over a report that we are throwing away three billion disposable coffee cups each year. It doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone that disposable cups are disposed of on such a prodigious scale because they are made of very cheap, very abundant materials and need little energy along the way. Nor do they seem to have clocked that ceramic cups are much more expensive because they require huge amounts of energy to make.

Still, this nonsense does fill up their pages for them.

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Reader Comments (107)

" when the grid didn't want the power, Culham (JET) could take it. "

My stately pleasure dome idea was to use the spare heat we could all see wafting away from the cooling towers.

Back to the cups. On consideration I reject the entire idea that I am responsible for the coffee shop's decisions. I am a consumer. While I have a personal inclination to avoid waste I am not bound by anything but my contract with the shop. I give them money and I get a long wait and a drink in whatever cup they and I have agreed on.

Mar 19, 2016 at 3:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Salopian. What has my former affiliation with UEA got to do with my sense of humour? Oh, O.K. then.

Mar 19, 2016 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

There's an interesting article on the Beeb online today.

It would seem that the worldwide glut of cheap commodities such as steel and oil is hitting the prices paid for recycled materials, with prices for steel cans down 88%, plastic bottles down 58% and glass down 67%.

Mar 19, 2016 at 12:39 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

@golf charlie, Mar 18, 2016 at 3:12 AM

About 10 years ago, I was in Croatia, and larger supermarkets ran a recycling scheme whereby you could get money back for empty bottles and aluminium drink cans etc. In the same way that people have mentioned on this thread, money could be made. Aluminium drinks cans, I can understand, glass bottles are not economic to recycle or reuse in the UK, but a 'bounty' was payable in Croatia. But a bounty was also payable on plastic bottles. I have never understood how there was sufficient money to be made, to make a bounty payable. This was before Croatia entered the EU, so I don't know whether recycling was one of the targets that they had to meet, to join the EU Club?

Pensioners would 'patrol' tourist hot-spot litter bins. It was normal to separate 'bounty' rubbish, into a separate bag, and place that next to a bin, rather than in it, and this made recycling an easier and less messy trade for the pensioners.

When I was living in Sweden in 1990s they had a similar system. All aluminium cans, plastic and glass drinks bottles included a deposit in the price iirc 1 SEK on cans and plastic and 2 SEK on glass. Most supermarkets had a machine to feed them into, in the deposit was given back as a voucher to use in the store. The machines scanned the barcode to determine what if any deposit had been paid.

During my time there they made a change to the system

Initially, I could obtain a credit on beer cans bought in UK duty free and any flattened, but barcode legible empties from UK home. There must have been a large amount of this going on as the barcodes on cans were changed from black stripes to unprinted bare metal stripes. Thus, non Swedish cans no longer gave a refund :(

@Alan Kendall, Mar 18, 2016 at 5:06 PM

We in the UK probably use 2 sheets per day, a much more leisurely pace.

Men in the UK probably use 2 sheets per day, a much more leisurely pace.

Women in the UK probably use 1-2 rolls per week, a much less leisurely pace.


Mar 19, 2016 at 7:37 PM | Registered CommenterPcar

Can't have 24 hour news networks without a constant stream of nonsense like this

Mar 20, 2016 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterZac

Thus blogs

Mar 21, 2016 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

So, how much carbon is sequestered by these cups? I don't know what you people do with them, but here we compact our trash on top of a thick seam of blue clay, and seal it with another layer of compacted blue clay.

Mar 29, 2016 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered Commenteriowaan

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