Dave's eco-nomics storm in a plastic cup - Green alert

You heed the advice from your fitness trainer and keep your fluid intake up at work. Sure, you've boosted your concentration and energy levels, but instead of a pat on the back you're getting it in the neck from the greenies for continually visiting the water cooler.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

They do, however, have a point: vending machines dispense 3 billion cups a year in the UK. Taken together with the 3 billion coming from other sources, that results in a staggering 24,000 tonnes of largely unnecessary polystyrene casually lobbed away once the thirst has been quenched. When you consider that such cups take more than 50 years to decompose, it's clear we should be cutting down on their use.

Action plan

It's not complicated: go out and buy a glass for your water and a mug for your coffee. Aside from the big environmental benefit, this will make your drink taste better. You can even go an extra step with a cafetiere and morning coffee ritual for your team - compare that to the battery acid-like brew that spews out of the machine. And with this touch of homeliness, your time at the desk will feel less like you're passing through. The plastic cups you do use can, of course, be recycled. Companies like Save-a-Cup offer free collection of the little blighters from special bins. It's just a matter of getting your team to use them.

Greenie points

Two (out of 10) - buy a glass and a mug, that's all you have to do.

- Dave Waller is MT's resident eco-prefect.

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