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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673
802-496-3928
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Question the concepts

01/31/2008

To The Editor:

Re: The Valley Reporter goes on a diet, January 24, 2008.

I applaud your efforts to reduce waste, but I must question some of the underlying concepts you seem to take for granted. "Compostable coffee cups?" How about being blunt: "Disposable coffee cups?" A simple question: When you are at home, do you use a disposable cup for coffee, tea, water, etc.?

I doubt it. If you are (at all) like me, you have a real (porcelain, glass, etc.) container that you use. Perhaps you put it in the dishwasher after every use; perhaps you rinse it out and re-use it a few times first. Whatever. The key point is: You are not throwing it out. So, why do differently in the office? Why feel proud that what you are throwing out is compostable when it is so easy not to throw anything out at all?

OK, perhaps we need to take this up to the management. As a consultant, I have worked in many offices where there are no disposable cups. Instead, there is a large supply of real cups (some supplied by the company, often with company logo; others belonging to the workers). If you consider the $$ involved in endlessly purchasing cups to be thrown away, you should soon realize that it would save both $ for you and resources for our troubled planet to do the same. Go out and buy some real (i.e., permanent) coffee cups. If you can afford it, buy some from the many local artisans in The Valley. If you wish, give every employee an allowance of so many dollars to buy a cup for him/herself. Please.

John Pieper

North Reading, MA

Warren, VT

Editor's Note: The compostable cup in question was brought into the office as a curiosity by an employee who found it at a local convenience store. The Valley Reporter does not have or purchase a supply of disposable beverage cups. Our kitchen includes 18 travel mugs and a dozen or more porcelain mugs plus eight to ten glass and plastic drinking glasses.

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