Going Green: Do You Use Styrofoam or a Dishwasher?

Green Launch Week happened in the office this week and as we said goodbye to Styrofoam cups, there were questions asking if it's better to use disposable products or a dishwasher. (31,000 Styrofoam cups were consumed in the office last year, that's a lot of Styrofoam!)

Hmmm. Good question. I remember debating this issue more than a decade ago when I was in college. Which is better, polluting the environment with disposable plastics or polluting the water with soap phosphates and sucking up energy from a dishwasher? Suppose it comes down to the lesser of two evils, which has less of an impact on the environment?

Things have changed since the 1990s (I feel so old) and in an office environment, I definitely say using a dishwasher is much better than using disposable plates, cups and flatware. Dishwashers are more energy efficient and there are earth-friendly soaps just as effective as those with phosphates. Plus, serving guests beverages in real mugs or served on real plates is classy. I've traveled the world and when attending meetings in offices have always been served tea in a proper tea cup and given a China plate for cookies.

Living single, I sometimes wonder how I can dirty so many dishes in a short period of time. It's times like those when I'm thankful for my dishwasher.

Thanks to my friends over at Wize for initiating this green discussion.