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What's better?

Monica Jun 1, 2011 12:27 PM

So I use my own ceramic cup and reuse plastic spoon to eat my cereal every morning at my work.
I use soap and water to wash them after I am done...and was thinking...I wonder if it's better to just use a paper cup and a spoon and recycle them than using this much water and one good pump of dishwashing soap.
Just a thought....with a question mark.

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    Maximilien RE: Monica Jun 1, 2011 01:03 PM

    Use water and soap.

    There are 3 Rs in this : (in order)
    Reduce : in your case, what is not going in the recycle bin will not get transported by a recycling truck which uses petrol and damage the roads which will need repair, ...
    Re-use : You are using you own cup, but you could use a real spoon instead of a plastic one.
    Re-cycle : water is a lot more easier and energy efficient to re-cycle and treat than cardboard.

    1. KaimukiMan RE: Monica Jun 1, 2011 07:27 PM

      the state of hawaii, being a microcosm isolated and having to deal with water supply and disposing of resources has done a lot of research on this to determine what is the best way to deal with school cafeteria food service.

      they have repeatedly discovered that it is not possible to determine which is either cheaper or better for the environment long term. an answer that makes everyone unhappy.

      some of the factors involve how much ground water is avaiable in each school district, the costs of shipping, and how much disposal space is available. hawaii has no recycling. we separate our trash, but it all ends up in the same landfill. politics and economics make recycling unrealistic many places.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KaimukiMan
        hilltowner RE: KaimukiMan Jun 1, 2011 09:03 PM

        Yep. It all depends on the location. Hawaii is an interesting case study. Limited land, limited groundwater -nothing is going to be perfect there. There is a possible solution, at least for the average person. If you are worried about which is better, perhaps you might want to look into compostable goods. They are generally sturdy enough to hold up to one use, then you throw it onto the compost pile and eventually it turns into dirt. Not terribly convenient or cheap, but ultimately better for the planet. Something to consider - not necessarily for the entire state of Hawaii, but for personal use, certainly.

      2. inaplasticcup RE: Monica Jun 1, 2011 09:38 PM

        Maybe my idea of the amount of "one good pump of dishwashing soap" is different from yours, but for me, that seems a lot of soap to wash some milk and cereal off a cup and a spoon. Takes a lot of water to rinse all that away.

        I've often pondered the same question, but if you were to continue reusing, maybe use less soap to reduce the water consumption?

        1 Reply
        1. re: inaplasticcup
          chowser RE: inaplasticcup Jun 2, 2011 09:36 AM

          Exactly. "Better" depends on the person and how efficient he/she is. My sister wets the plate, turns off the water to wash/scrub it, turns back on the water to rinse quickly. My husband turns on the water, wipes the counters, clears up, continues to clean. If you're conscientious about the water and soap, that would be best. The resources it takes to make a disposable plate/utensil, transport it to you is big, and that doesn't get into the landfill problem.

        2. Karl S RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 01:19 PM

          I am not sure you need soap for cereal bowl & spoon (it's not like there's significant grease or grit that needs the releasing action of soap), and if you don't, you'll probably use less water.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Karl S
            inaplasticcup RE: Karl S Jun 7, 2011 01:22 PM

            I think I would need a teeny, tiny bit of soap because I really hate the smell of dairy product residue on my dishes and silverware.

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