Kermit knew what he was talking about when he said that it's not easy being green. Sometimes the most environmentally friendly choice isn't always obvious. Everyday when I get a cup of coffee at my 9-5 job I'm reminded of this. We have Styrofoam cups at the office and you'd think that would be the worst environmental choice for a coffee cup that you could make, right? Well not always.
Making a Styrofoam cup consumes less resources than when you make a paper cup. And what about bringing in a ceramic mug and washing it everyday. Well according to this study, it would take about 1000 uses of a ceramic cup before it becomes more environmentally friendly than Styrofoam cups when you factor in the hot water used to wash it. And then there's all the variables that these types of studies don't take into account. What if I rinse out the ceramic mug and have a second cup of coffee without washing it. What if I rinse out the Styrofoam cup and do the same. How about if I make a few cups of coffee and put them in a thermos at my desk and then pour them into a ceramic mug with a picture of my kids on it. What if the picture of my kids was taken at a nuclear power plant. And why am I drinking so much coffee anyway?
These are the kinds of questions that people are asking about Seeds of Change new plastic seed packages. I've included a snapshot from their newsletter where they announce the reasons why they're switching to the new seed packages (click to enlarge). They're obviously a very green company and I'm sure they've done lots of research into what the best solution for them.
The paper or plastic question isn't as cut and dry as you'd think anymore. My advice is to weigh your options and do what's best for you as well as what's best for the environment. And if I wind up making some of the wrong choices, well I'll make up for it by composting.