People only do things as a matter of principle when they know they are simply wrong

We serve refreshments in plastic or plastic-coated paper cups at our assemblies and performances and parent meetings.

Why, as a matter of politics and principle, have we not switched to ceramic only?

The simple answer is economics: each ceramic cup would have to be used up to 1,000 times before the additional energy and resource cost of producing that one mug outweighed the costs of producing 1,000 disposable cups. The additional costs of hot water and staffing to wash, dry and store all those mugs make it even less likely that we will swap. We can tie-up staff in washing cups or they can work with children. We can buy a great many more disposable cups for the price of the 60 to 100 ceramic mugs we’d need.

The reusable mug is only ‘better’ for the environment is it lasts that long and gets used that many times. It is really unlikely to ever be so at current pricing and resourcing levels. If we used ceramic mugs and used them once every day it would still take five years to cover the energy cost difference.

Can we afford to be better principled, or is it one of Kant’s duty-based ethics? Must we, or is the choice money-driven? As things stand we make our choice based, not on parent or environmental pressure, but on straight economics.

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