Campus coffee shops go green


Mark Capapas

The interior of the Espresso Royale in Urbana is pictured on May 6. Espresso Royale recently changed the lids on their drinks to be more eco-friendly by making them straw-less.

By Luis Velazquez, Staff Writer

Local coffee shops have been showing an effort to help the environment by using eco-friendly plastic straws, cups and lids. However, not all establishments have caught up with the latest trend.

Students may have come across biodegradable products, such as bags and straws, at coffee shops on campus.

According to Precision Engineered Products, biodegradable plastics decompose naturally in the environment. In order for that to happen, microorganisms metabolize and break down plastic. This is less harmful to the environment than traditional plastics. There are two forms of biodegradable plastics: injection molded and solid. Food containers and water bottles use the solid form of biodegradable plastic.

Although Espresso Royale recently changed the lids on their drinks to be more eco-friendly by making them straw-less, other coffee shops are still in the process of changing their products.

“Our paper cups for hot drinks are not biodegradable, but I’m planning to change that as soon as my supplier can provide them,” said owner of Caffe Paradiso Young Jeon.

Caffe Paradiso offers biodegradable forks, spoons and knives. Jeon said although they are expensive to access, they can make a difference.

Jeon values the environment and her own establishment for having biodegradable products for their drinks.

“A lot of people are interested in saving the earth, even my kids are, too,” Jeon said. “I personally believe people can make a change (in) the world, little by little.”

Andrew Park, manager at Caffe Bene on Green Street, said the coffee shop offers some biodegradable cups for cold drinks. Park believes more people should be aware of environmental needs. However, most customers of Caffe Bene focus more on their food rather than the cafe’s biodegradable products.

“I know a lot of testimonies that people say they hate paper straws because they get soggy and don’t work as well, so I don’t think people think of the environment in that sort of way,” Park said.

Linda Martinez, sophomore in LAS, appreciates many coffee shops’ decisions to have eco-friendly lids and straws to try to make a difference. Although, she believes this is long overdue.

“We have ignored climate change for so long that now the consequences of even using a plastic cup is too much of a risk that none of us are willing to take,” Martinez said. “I mean obviously everyone knows that plastic straws harm the environment, and so I see why a lot of establishments are going to stop using them, but also they can be doing other things as well that can be around the same range.”

Espresso Royale was unable to respond in time for publication.

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