I think I need your help. I know you are a personal advice columnist but I am not sure what all that includes. Let me ask my question and maybe you can advise or direct me about what I should do next.
I want to be environmentally conscious (“green”) but I’m torn by a puzzle in this aspect of social responsibility. Here is the most recent problem; my office wants us to stop using Styrofoam cups for our coffee and opt instead for reusable cups. Reusable cups require water to wash and to me, that adds to their energy burden both in water use and in the energy it takes to heat the water to wash them. I’m not an engineer, but it is logical to think that the heavier an object is then the more energy it takes to produce that object - in this case a reusable cup. Even paper cups require more energy to produce than Styrofoam and can be hard on the environment.
And then there is the question of a health, which is a whole other issue.
Dr. Weiss, how do I decide what to do about this?
Wishy-Washy on Green
Your concern regarding the environment can be read as a challenge in the work place, but I prefer to see it as an opportunity. I am not going to reiterate all of the research you can find by googling styrofoam vs. plastic from the internet, I’ll let you do that. Just know that there is a lot of information out there on this subject and everyone is entitled to do there homework and form ther own opinion on this issue.
With that said, everyone in your office may not be in agreement with which to choose, so consider this...
Consider campaigning, JAVA WITH A PURPOSE. Consider looking into purchasing reusable, corn-based coffee mugs for the entire office. The more purchased, the lower the cost. Have everyone pay a dollar or two more than the cost and donate that money to an environmentally conscious organization. This not only is a good effort for an honorable cause, but it brings your co-workers together in an effort for good. Also, you could use the money collected to purchase recycling bins for paper, plastic and glass available for all to use in your office.
Another idea would be to contact your local art school and have a group of students custom make mugs for your office. A donation for every mug could go toward the students tuition and/or fees.
Think outside the box, or in this case; mug. Situations in our lives are only problems if we choose to see them as problems. This week, approach life by seeing the mug half full!