Council committee gets handle on coffee cups

A City Council panel resolved to cut back on coffee cups today, and might soon take a closer look at a citywide policy to handle future environmental practices.

Health, Energy and Environment Committee members approved a policy that would crush the council’s use of between 3,000 to 4,000 disposable paper coffee cups each year.

Under the resolution, plastic and paper cups would be replaced with ceramic mugs. The throwaway cups cost the city and its taxpayers less than $500 a year, but generate a lot of trash.

Council Member Cam Gordon (2nd Ward), said he supported the resolution, but would like to see it expanded to a full on “Green Purchasing Policy.”

Gordon said it was a step in the right direction to approve “some policies that address [the use of Styrofoam].”

However, Gordon, and other members, agreed that future environmental policy must think outside the box.

“I think what we really need is a more far-reaching policy so that we as a city enterprise are making the most environmentally sensitive choices,” Gordon said. “[The resolution] shows how much we need the Green Purchasing Policy and the whole package.”

The resolution calls for the use of donated ceramic mugs and green-friendly dish detergent. It also urges other city departments to adopt a similar policy. The use of 46 polystyrene cups, or three paper cups, is equal to resources needed to make one ceramic mug, according to the resolution, penned by Chairman Scott Benson (11th Ward).

The adopted practices would put council members in (the coffee) line with the Sierra Club, Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.