The MCE Systems website tells us that they’ve been running cup washing employee training. As they explain, “Rinse-Soap-Wash-Dry, Success.”
The reason is sustainability.
In a series of anecdotes about companies that eliminated single use cups, WSJ first described a thirsty ad agency employee who had to drink from a faucet because nothing reusable remained in the cupboard. They spoke of the man whose water tasted like coffee in a communal mug. They told of employees depleting the guest cup supply.
Yes, it’s not easy becoming green.
Returning to Glass
The big solution could be refillable glass containers.
In 1975, more than half of our soda was sold in glass bottles. Now it’s down to 1 percent. At the same time, the proportion of plastic bottles grew from zero to almost 33 percent. With plastic a major concern, using more glass is an alternative.
The FDA says glass is safe. All other packaging material needs their premarket approval. Relatively impermeable, glass gives products a longer shelf life than plastic. But the big advantage for glass is refills. Refillable glass bottles are by far the most “green.”
Still though, from 2015 to 2019, new drink launches in glass containers continued dropping from 37 percent to 25 percent. Glass breaks. Broken, the pieces create havoc in recycling bins. It is heavy to transport. The result has been less glass recycling.
That returns us to reusable mugs at work. Whether we are talking about eliminating single use cups or refillable glass containers, all need more effort. All require sacrificing more in the present to make a better future.
Our Bottom Line: Cost and Benefit
A behavioral economist might say that we feel the short term cost (defined as sacrifice) from eliminating single use cups and using refillable bottles. However, our benefit is long term from the sustainability we support. Similarly, with a health club membership, many of us under-visit the gym. Unaware that we are doing cost and benefit analysis, many of us prefer to decrease short term cost instead of increasing long term benefit.
And that is why we don’t want to wash our mugs at work.
My sources and more: Yesterday, WSJ’s fun front page article was about the employee response to losing their single use cups. The serious side took me to a return to glass and to its carbon footprint stats. (Please note that I discovered no way to confirm carbon footprint data accuracy but found refillable glass consistently the most “green.”)
Our featured image is from MCE Systems.