It's the Environment, Stupid.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Corn Mugs

Have you seen the Corn Mug?

They're made of 100% corn-based plastic, from US grown corn, which makes it bio-degradable - so you can throw it right into your compost pile (or landfill) and it'll safely degrade (although I failed to inquire about the ink used in printing on the mug...) As an added bonus for those in the good ol U.S. of A., the corn mug is manufactured in Missouri.

I talked to Corn Mug distributor, Dwayne Burnell (who just happens to be based in my home town near Seattle, Bothell, WA) who said these particular mugs (like the thick walled 'Corn Koffee Keg'), with the corn plastic technology has been around for about a year. Burnell said that previous mugs were too thin and couldn't withstand hot liquids. But this one seems to be a winner.

It is microwavable, dishwasher safe, it doesn't chip or crack, and it withstands hot liquids like its regular plastic counterparts. (The only caution of note is that it shouldn't go in commercial grade dishwashers - those are too hot, the plastic bubbles slightly, but the dishwasher in your home is fine. Unless you don't have a dishwasher at all - like me - then there's no need to worry about the dishwasher factor.)

Burnell says came about in a marketing class he taught. He wanted students to think about product lifecycle - and the corn mug seemed to be a perfect fit. So if you need an eco-friendly promo item with your company logo - go for the cornmug.

Of course there's probably huge drawbacks to corn based plastics (which I hope you will point out to me), but I'm all for them. In my opinion, corn based plastics (and related packaging materials) are significantly better than petroleum based plastics simply because corn based plastics are biodegradable and will breakdown after disposed of, whereas other plastics last for a lifetime (if not longer).


  • Sounds pretty cool to me, but what's wrong with ceramic mugs?

    I'm just amazed that a mug that can withstand boiling hot liquids, dishwashers and microwaves will break down in your compost pile!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19:44  

  • They have these at my workplace and I just had to trade mine in for a new one because it had several cracks on the inside from nothing else but coffee. Never put it in the dishwasher or in the microwave...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16:38  

  • wo that is really nice. I'm glad to know some companies in the country are actually worried about producing beo degradable products!

    By Anonymous sildenafil, at 11:22  

  • Actually, you can't put these in your normal compost pile. It takes commercial grade, environmentally controlled compost facilities to make these bio polymers break down into the original, natural parts.
    If you want to get rid of these bio polymers, it's safer to incinerate them. Zero greenhouse gasses/toxins are emitted during incineration.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 18:34  

  • I have had the corn kegger for about 3 years, never microwaved or dishwashered it. It started showing cracks the first year from putting hot (not boiling) water in it for tea/cocoa/coffee. I've toughed it out but now it has degraded so much on the inside that it is flaking tons of corn-plastic dust into my beverage. Yuck!

    Compared to the decades of use you can get from a ceramic mug, this corn mug is little more than a gimmick. Needing to replace the mug every few years is significantly more wasteful than just sticking to a single traditional ceramic mug. It's the environment, stupid, and the corn mug isn't helping.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:13  

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