Last week MacLeans magazine started to do some digging on the “Eco-tainer” cups, which, unfortunately, is Canada’s only compostable paper coffee cup. The article asked the question of whether these cups are actually green, and found that most environmental groups do not consider them so....

Why not? Because these cups are made with non-recycled, virgin fiber certified through the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). As groups like Greenpeace, ForestEthics and the David Suzuki Foundation point out, SFI does not provide a guarantee of socially and environmentally responsible logging. Rather SFI is an industry-led greenwashing scheme. Out of all the forest certification schemes, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the only system endorsed by the environmental community because of the emphasis it puts on conserving important ecological values, as well as Aboriginal and workers’ rights.

But regardless of whether they FSC certified or not, no disposable cups should be made out of virgin fiber. Any product that is used only once and then thrown out must be made of 100% recycled fiber if we are to succeed at conserving the planet’s remaining forests.  Relax and read the paper at your local cafe, or remember to bring your disposable cup! The world’s forests – and all the forest communities and wildlife that depend on them – will thank you!