The problem with disposable coffee 外帶咖啡紙杯的“回收難題”

Disposable coffee cup alternatives

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在現代社會中,外帶咖啡紙杯很常見,但這些紙杯給回收工作帶來了難題。盡管原則上它們是被回收了,但目前的回收的方式意味著幾乎沒有紙杯可被持續循環利用。不過,一些專攻創新的群體找到了可能解決此問題的方法。本集《隨身英語》帶你一探究竟。

Vocabulary: problems and solutions 詞彙:問題與解決辦法

Millions of us grab a coffee on our way to work. And when we do, it probably comes served in a branded, disposable, cardboard coffee cup. Once the coffee is done, just pop the cup into a recycling bin and forget about it. The cup will be taken away and turned into a new one for you to use again tomorrow. The system works, right?

There’s a hitch. In the UK, we throw away an estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. And despite being recyclable in theory, in practice only very few of them are dealt with in a way that makes them sustainable. This makes them a bit of an obstacle. What throws a spanner in the works is the layer of polyethylene that makes the cup waterproof, and the lid, which is most often made of polystyrene. As a result, most of the cups end up in landfill.

But there are efforts underway to tackle this issue. One company, Biome Bioplastics, has come up with a fully compostable, recyclable cup that uses natural materials, such as potato starch, as waterproofing. Mr Mines, its chief executive, believes that this is the first time bioplastic has been used for disposable cups and lids that have to cope with hot liquid. And they’re still fully recyclable.

Another feasible solution has been proposed by Frugalpac, who have patented a cup with a lightly-attached plastic lining. This can be easily separated during the recycling and ‘offers a more pragmatic solution‘ than changing our current recycling habits, says Frugalpac’s founder Martin Myerscough.

Safia Qureshi says India has provided the inspiration for her solution. She puts forward that we use returnable and reusable cups, which are tracked and collected by her company Cup Club. They will be responsible for collecting, washing and redistributing the clean cups to participating retailers.

One final example of lateral thinking comes from Cupffee. This trio from Bulgaria have combined cereals to form a cup which can be eaten once the drink is finished. It is apparently sweet and crisp, can hold a coffee for up to 40 minutes and will biodegrade within weeks.

Whether any of these innovative ideas are a perfect fit for this disposable issue, only time will tell. It’s possible that a more viable solution has yet to be ventured, though it may not be long in coming. All it may require is a little more thinking outside the box… or should that be coffee cup?

詞彙表

hitch 小問題
in theory 理論上
obstacle 障礙
throw a spanner in the works 從中搗亂,打亂計劃
tackle 解決,處理
issue 問題
come up with 提出、想出(主意)
feasible 行得通的,可行的
propose 提出
offer a solution 給出解決方案
pragmatic 實用的,重實效的
inspiration 靈感
put forward 提出(建議、想法等)
lateral thinking 橫向思維,發散式思維
perfect fit 完美的答案
viable 可行的,可望成功的
venture 冒險去做,大膽嘗試
thinking outside the box 以新的眼光看問題,跳出傳統思維框架

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. How many disposable coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year?

2. Why are the disposable coffee cups not recycled?

3. In what way are Biome Bioplastics’ cups different?

4. Where did Safia Qureshi find inspiration for her Cup Club idea?

5. What advantages are there to Cupffee’s edible cup?

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The construction has met a __________. The steel we used won’t hold the weight of the roof. We’ll need to change it. 

hitch       issue       proposed       viable

2. Thank you for coming to the meeting. I’d like to __________ an idea that I think you will like.

tackle       proposed       put forward       inspire

3. I’m sorry, but the return on the investment doesn’t cover the expenses, which means it’s not economically ______.

issue       proposed       pragmatic       viable

4. Using your belt to repair the broken handle on your bag was great __________.

offer a solution       pragmatic       lateral thinking       in theory

5. So by using the food supermarkets are throwing away to feed the homeless, we solve both problems. It’s a __________.

inspiration       feasible       perfect fit       issue

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. How many disposable coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year?
In the UK, we throw away an estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year.

2. Why are the disposable coffee cups not recycled?
What throws a spanner in the works is the layer of polyethylene that makes the cup waterproof, and the lid, which is most often made of polystyrene. As a result, most of the cups end up in landfill.

3. In what way are Biome Bioplastics’ cups different?
Biome Bioplastics has come up with a fully compostable, recyclable cup that uses natural materials, such as potato starch, as waterproofing.

4. Where did Safia Qureshi find inspiration for her Cup Club idea?
Safia Qureshi says India has provided the inspiration for her solution.

5. What advantages are there to Cupffee’s edible cup?
It is apparently sweet and crisp, can hold a coffee for up to 40 minutes and will biodegrade within week.

1. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The construction has met a hitch. The steel we used won’t hold the weight of the roof. We’ll need to change it.

2. Thank you for coming to the meeting. I’d like to put forward an idea that I think you will like.

3. I’m sorry, but the return on the investment doesn’t cover the expenses, which means it’s not economically viable.

4. Using your belt to repair the broken handle on your bag was great lateral thinking.

5. So by using the food supermarkets are throwing away to feed the homeless, we solve both problems. It’s a perfect fit.

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