I know, things have been a little slow with the blog lately...it's because I've been working on a website to compliment this PSP project. The website is functioning, but some portions are still under construction. So, take a peek if you like: http://www.thepapercup.org



DAY 5 [WEEK 8]: 11.09.08
Here are two cute takes on coffee mugs I found 
while browsing the web:

This ceramic mug is playful, and sold through 
www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk as the "Mr P Drip Mug"

BoingBoing.net featured this mug some time ago.
It's clever (and a little outlandish). I wonder if 
it comes with a cookie cutter so your cookies fit 
in the shelf nicely?



DAY 7 [WEEK 7]: 11.03.08
So, I found this cool website and I'm posting a link because I think it ties into sustainability...and it's cool and it builds vocab and feeds the hungry. :-) 


week five [5]

DAY 7 [WEEK 5]: 10.19.08

Thanks to Jen for sending in this link to green compostable cups!

I'd been doing a bit of research too and found that there are many disposable cup options that are environmentally responsible. They're known as Nature based products made of food crops, bamboo, rice, etc. Spudware makes compostable hot-beverage cups and disposable utensils/ware out of potatoes. There's also disposable utinsils/ware made out of corn. I can't help but wonder why I'm not seeing these more often at coffee shops. I also can't help but wonder how much energy goes into making these cups in comparison to paper, ceramic, etc. This information doesn't seem to be readily available and I don't have the resources to find out for myself right now, but we have to consider the time that goes into farming the potato/corn materials, the fuel used in harvesting large crops, the water used if farming takes place in irrigation fields...there's a lot to think about and take into consideration.

Again, it depends on your environmental goals. If you wish to reduce your waste volume, stick with a reusable mug. If you wish to reduce your energy consumption, paper maybe be best, but there are things to consider if your paper cup is lined with plastics that never biodegrade and instead photodegrade (a break-down process where toxins slowly work their way back up the food-chain.) Now we have options like the potato and corn disposable cups that compost easily with no toxic trace elements...but these materials are farmed crops that consume energy in their farming practices and I'd be interested in researching the amount of energy involved in manufacturing processes that convert a crop into a plastic-like substance.

I'm finding that there is no one easy solution, and depending on your personal goals, it's a matter of picking the lesser of several evils...or simply the best option currently available that comes closest to meeting your goals and needs.

DAY 4 [WEEK 5]: 10.16.08

Scott from Alaska HDTV sent in a photo of his mug...this guy loves his coffee, his production company is called Perfect Blend Media. Take a quick trip to Alaska via this link to his podshow...or download it from iTunes...it's worth it!



DAY 3 [WEEK 4]: 10.08.08

"I am not a paper cup..."
Kristin, a fellow classmate with her own PSP, sent in a link to this:

Photo retrieved from www.dcigift.com



DAY 3 [WEEK 3]: 10.01.08

Starbucks.com has this link that asks you to submit ideas. I submitted the following two:
(VOTE for these ideas HERE!!!)

Cozie Ads for Education/Infrastructure: Sell ad space on Starbucks coffee cozies with advertising proceeds going to: 
- A scholarship fund for children of coffee plantation workers.
- Infrastructure within coffee plantation workers' communities (i.e. school buildings, community buildings, water/sewer systems...)

*NOTE: The cozies would have an allotted space for advertisements and the Starbucks logo would maintain its domain on the cozies. The advertisements would be on a bi- monthly rotation, so people don't get tired of seeing the same ad over an extended period of time. Eventually, maybe the cozies (or other display avenues) could feature life stories about the successes in education and infrastructure obtained, in part, by the advertisement sales.

CO-OP: Community + Culture + Coffee = Coffee Cup Co-Op: Create a Starbucks co-op with developing countries where local ceramic artisans create coffee cups for in-store use AND for customer product purchase. Not only would this create stable jobs in areas where jobs are hard to come by, it would add cultural and artistic flair to the Starbucks in-store beverage experience. Each cup is a one-of-a-kind piece of art! Proceeds from cup sales can help buy ceramic supplies, food subsidies, etc. for the artisans in developing countries.
Community + Culture + Coffee = Coffee Cup Co-Op
(Starbucks plans to make ceramic the global standard in all its stores anyway...so why not pay creative artisans in developing countries to make the cups!)

Don't forget to VOTE for these ideas HERE!!!
1. Go to this site (*You need to have a Starbucks Account to VOTE)
2. Click on the "vote" icon (a hovering green check-mark)
3. On the left hand column, you'll see a search box below an orange "SIGN IN" button. In the search box, type the following:
- For the first idea, just type "Cozie Ads" into the search box.
- For the second idea, type "coffee cup co-op" and keep it in quotes.



DAY 7 [WEEK 2]: 09.28.08
A few things to consider:
  • Is your cup made of plastic, paper, stainless steel, ceramic, etc.? : So, this is where the term 'embodied energy' enters a four-part equation: 1. A consumer may want to consider how much manufacturing energy goes into the product from start to finish. 2. Then the consumer may want to incorporate the energy used in transporting the product to points of sale. 3. Consider the product's ELE (estimated life expectancy), i.e. is this going straight into the landfill or can it be washed and reused? 4. Next, if it can be reused, how much energy will be required in cleaning/maintenance, and how does that balance against the product's previously considered embodied energy?
  • Also, consider the type of material the product is made of. Is it a renewable resource? Is it a toxic plastic? Are there health risks associated with the material? Does its molecular structure breakdown when a hot beverage is poured into it? If it's a reusable mug, consider it's durability and the replacements of parts if broken?
At this point, I can't answer which cup is better. I'm inclined to say a stainless mug is best, because of its longevity, durability and non-toxic material. It lasts longer than disposable plastic and paper. It's more durable that ceramic and glass. AND It does not contain the toxic plastics found in many plastic and PE-lined paper cups/mugs.

DAY 5 [WEEK 2]: 09.26.08
Starbucks will give you $.10 off your coffee purchase if you bring in your own mug! Small savings add up! :-) (Check it out -- if you're not already boycotting the corporate coffee GIANT!)

DAY 2 [WEEK 2]: 09.23.08
I thought this was a cool flickr gallery...it's about laté art.

Here's a cool idea I stumbled over online: turn a used coffee to-go cup into a tissue holder. Click here to see the site and related photos.

DAY 1 [WEEK 2]: 09.22.08
Well, in it's first week, coffeecupcrusade.blogspot.com recieved 63 pageviews and was posted to Digg.com. 

Throughout the next few weeks, we'll be taking an in-depth look into the life-cycle of the paper cup.