• Home Home

Frustrated employee shares photos of ironic product provided in office break room: 'What's the point then?'

"It looks like it may not be real…"

"It looks like it may not be real..."

Photo Credit: iStock

More and more companies are switching to eco-friendly alternatives for their materials and supplies, which is great news for the planet. 

However, those efforts can sometimes go wrong and generate more waste and pollution than they fix. One unhappy Redditor shared an example in a post on r/mildlyinfuriating.

What happened?

"The 'eco' cups provided at work are each individually wrapped in plastic," the frustrated Redditor explained, sharing a photo to illustrate the problem. 

"It looks like it may not be real..."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The picture shows over 100 disposable cups in several stacks alongside other coffee supplies. The printing on the cups, which has a green, nature-focused design, also identifies them as compostable and biodegradable.

Choosing biodegradable paper is a major step up from the styrofoam that has historically been so common, which is made of plastic and unhealthy for both people and the environment. However, this solution has a glaring flaw: individual plastic bags around each paper cup.

"What's the point then?" demanded one commenter.

Why does the plastic matter?

Wrapping the cups in plastic is likely annoying for guests who just want coffee and the employees who have to clean up after them. 

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ What confuses you most about recycling protocol?

๐Ÿ”˜ Which materials I can recycle ๐Ÿ“ฆ

๐Ÿ”˜ How clean the material needs to be ๐Ÿงผ

๐Ÿ”˜ What the plastic numbers mean โ™ป๏ธ

๐Ÿ”˜ Nothing at all ๐Ÿ˜‡

๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

Plus, plastic is one of the most clear-cut villains in the story of the environment. It's hard to recycle, it takes decades or centuries to break down on its own, it sheds microplastics, it's dangerous for animals and marine life, and even making it means polluting the environment by drilling for the raw material โ€” oil.

What is the company doing about the plastic?

As some commenters pointed out, all might not be as it seems when it comes to the apparent plastic wrap.

"What kind of plastic? Biodegradable and compostable plastics both exist, and are 'eco' to different degrees," said one user.

"It looks like it may not be real plastic, it's probably biodegradable 'plastic,'" another Redditor agreed.

Even if the wrappers are real plastic, there's a potential good reason for it. "If the cups have no plastic wrapper, they have to be thrown out with every new guest even if they haven't been used," said a commenter who claimed to be a former housekeeper. "An intact plastic wrapper means they're still sanitary and don't need to be changed out."

How can I reduce my plastic waste?

Wherever possible, using your own reusable cup is better for the planet than choosing a disposable one โ€” plastic or otherwise. You can brew your own coffee at home or participate in a program like Starbucks' Reusable Cup Benefit Program to get rewards.

For cold drinks, a reusable water bottle is the way to go.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider