Espresso Royale debuts Eco Cups

Dan Modica, a student at Parkland College and an employee at the Espresso Royale, 1117 W. Oregon St., Urbana, grabs one of the new Eco Cups on Tuesday. Erica Magda

Dan Modica, a student at Parkland College and an employee at the Espresso Royale, 1117 W. Oregon St., Urbana, grabs one of the new Eco Cups on Tuesday. Erica Magda

By Ebonique Wool

Your favorite drink from Espresso Royale just got better. As of this summer, Espresso Royale has started the manufacture and use of Eco Cups.

“The old cups had a petroleum layer to insulate the coffee,” said Jennifer Iversen, manager of the Espresso Royale Caf‚, 602 E. Daniel St. “These new cups have a liner that’s made from a polymer that’s derived from cornstarch. The new plastic cups are also made of polymer and are biodegradable.”

Though the old clear plastic cups were recyclable, the company felt people were often not recycling them.

“There’s nothing obvious that says you can recycle plastic,” Michael Cronin, freshman in LAS. Cronin said he feels there is a lack of obvious plastic recycle bins around campus.

According to the Espresso Royale Web site, when plastic cups are thrown away, they do not decompose into the soil. The difficulty of recycling plastic motivated the company’s switch to biodegradable cups.

The new Eco Cup decomposes into the soil, so it can be safely thrown away without harming the environment. The manufacture of the Eco Cups also uses less energy than the previous plastic cups.

“As the president became more educated on the topic, he felt it was something that should be done,” Christina Head, University alumna and manager of Espresso Royale Caf‚ in Undergraduate Library, 1402 W. Gregory Drive, said.

Iversen is excited about the new program and even called the president of the company when she heard of the switch to congratulate him on his decision.

“People are becoming more aware of environmental issues,” Iversen said. “This gives them a way to become more involved.”

Iversen said that soon the straws and lids will also be biodegradable, making the entire package more environmentally friendly.

“I am for any program being environmentally sensitive,” Michael Bailen, senior in LAS, said.

Bailen said he would not increase his coffee drinking habits to help promote the new program. However, he chooses to go to Espresso Royale over other caf‚s because he prefers their coffee, which is partly comprised of coffee beans obtained through fair trade.

“I always find that coffee shops that care about the environment make better coffee because they care about what they’re selling,” Cronin said.

Head said that Espresso Royale is currently working to further enlarge its fair trade coffee menu.