Waking Up America: The Guise of Coffee Culture and its Harmful Effects

1450 Words Jul 7th, 2018 6 Pages
Coffee, the bean we love. To many it is known as the magic elixir, brain juice, or nectar of the gods, while others see it as the devil in a cup. America is a country that is obsessed with its coffee, now more than ever before. Although coffee has spanned generations, the craze did not exist like it does today. According to anthropologist William Roseberry of UBC, coffee was on the decline in the 1960’s and hit an all time low in the 90’s with only half the country drinking about a cup a day (D’Costa). However, with coffee being the world’s most commonly traded commodity, second to crude oil, much money is at stake when people stop drinking it. Thus the coffee empire was rebuilt, coffee revamped, and redefined to suit the needs of the “me …show more content…
Additionally, a disposable cup is often served with a styrene lid and a holder, both of which may be small but quickly add to a greater carbon footprint. (Borg) Buying a daily cup of coffee in a disposable cup creates 23 pounds of waste a year that could easily be avoided by having customers bring their own cup (Borg). Furthermore, disposable cups vary in environmental impact. According to the Environmental Protection agency, Styrofoam has no biodegradable properties and will never decompose. (Spitzer) This means a cup in the landfill will exist in 500 years much as it does today. Most paper cups are lined with a plastic resin to keep beverages warm, however this prevents the ability to recycle them. Although Starbucks’ cups are 10% recyclable, the FDA has strict guidelines around used material in conjunction with hot liquids resulting in most cups requiring virgin paper, (i.e. trees), for manufacturing, that are bleached and chemically treated. Based on research by the Environmental Defense Fund regarding the production and shipping of coffee cups, 7 trillion BTU’s of energy are used, that which could power 77 thousand homes, 6 billion gallons of water are used which could fill 9000 Olympic sized pools, and 4 billion pounds of C02 released into the
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