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Paper Cups: the Safer, Cleaner Option for Office Beverages

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Many office employees the world over are making the wise decision to shift to the use of paper cups for their office beverage, as opposed to the use of ceramic mugs. The reasons for this change are very valid. Recent research has revealed the shocking reality that ceramic mugs are both a safety and a health hazard. Indeed, ceramic mugs are considered as one of the most germ-infested items in the office, in addition to contributing to a good number of accidents!

A recent study by the renowned scientist, Dr. Charles Gerba, clearly brought out the health dangers portended by the continued use of the ceramic mug for coffee, tea and other beverages in the office. The research, which made a comparative study based the level of germs in a number of items used in the office, shockingly revealed that toilet seats ranked lower in germs than the office coffee mug. The study further found out that up to 20% of the office mug contains faecal bacteria, while up to 90% of the mugs are infested with other dangerous germs. 

Where does the office mug get all these germs from? The study found out that the office desktop and general working surface area contains almost twice the amount of bacteria than to be found in bathrooms. In addition, most of the surfaces where the worker is likely to touch with their hands contains over 10 million germs. Consider that the average worker spends a lot of time holding or gripping the coffee mug, and you will understand how easy it is to transfer all the germs from the hands to the coffee mug. That is not all. The other major contributor to the prevalence of harmful germs in the ceramic mugs is the poor cleaning habits. It is common knowledge that almost every office worker has his or her favourite mug. They keep this mug close and use it in the course of carrying out their tasks – whenever they need a caffeine hit. However, many workers do not properly clean the mug since they know it is just for their own use, as they do not share with any of their colleagues. A coffee mug is supposed to be thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water. The water has to be hot enough to kill all the accumulated germs. Sadly, rarely does this happen, as most workers do not see the need to scrub the mug on a daily basis. They are more engrossed with accomplishing their daily office tasks as opposed to the mundane matter of cleaning the mug. With time, the germs continue to pile up on the mug; and the more the cleaning is either postponed or shoddily done, the higher the build-up of harmful germs.

Dr. Gerba’s research found out that hygiene is not the only concern that compels office workers to shun coffee mugs and turn to paper cups. There is also the crucial matter of safety. Serious burns from hot beverages are quite common. The highest percentage of these burns are caused by beverages from hot liquids in mugs, for the simple reason that mugs do not have lids that can prevent or help contain a lethal spillage. This risk arises from the fact that the work area is often cluttered, and the speed and urgency with which the worker moves around this area trying to complete tasks may lead to an accident. One can inadvertently hit the mug with disastrous effects. If the hot beverage does not burn you as the mug tips over, the content will spill on the floor, causing a potential hazard were somebody to slip on it. 
By virtue of the fact that ceramic coffee mugs are not only germ-infested but also accident prone, many progressive office workers are ditching them for paper cups. 
The following are some advantages of using paper cups for beverages in the office:
1. They are a Healthier Choice
This is the most important reason for the choice of paper cups over ceramic mugs. A paper cup is meant for one-time use – it cannot be re-used. They are a healthier choice because they will not spread bacteria and contaminate every subsequent beverage that you take. On the other hand, the ceramic mug is re-used repeatedly, and this adds to the risk of it being a health hazard, especially when it is not properly cleaned. Mugs collect a lot of germs as they sit around for days and weeks, and these germs are bound to be transferred to every subsequent beverage that is taken; to the detriment of your health.

2. They are Safer
Paper cups come fitted with spill-proof lids. This means that there is a less likelihood of being burnt even when an accident happens. For instance, if you were to bump into your co-worker along the corridors, the spill-proof lid will safely contain the hot beverage within the cup.

3. Paper Cups are Lighter
Unlike the heavier and more cumbersome ceramic mugs, paper cups are lighter and therefore easier to handle and move around with. This means that they can be conveniently carried from one part of the office to the other with much ease. 

4. They are Easier to Deal with
Paper cups will save you on the time and energy required to do all the cleaning that using ceramic mugs calls for. A mugs needs to be thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water each time it is used. This means that if you take coffee about five times per day, you need to spend considerable time cleaning the mug for each of the five times you use it. This eats into precious time that could have gone into completing assignments. With paper cups, you can forget about the entire cleaning bit. All you need to do is to use it, and dispose it responsibly.

5. They are Eco-friendly
Paper cups are recyclable, and they therefore appeal to the conscientious, environmentally conscious worker. The company can invest in a recycling system, or collaborate with a recycling firm to ensure that all the paper cups used by the workers are recycled. 

Globally, more and more organizations are turning to paper cups as the better choice for use in their cafeterias and kitchens. They are preferred for their enhanced safety, hygiene and health attributes. They greatly reduce the incidences of employees getting injured and sick. Numerous studies conducted by the likes of Dr. Charles Gerba have gone a long way to expose the extent of germ-proliferation in the office area, and many have taken advantage of these findings to invest in paper cups, and avoid ceramic mugs. Indeed, the merits of using paper cups as opposed to ceramic mugs cannot be overstated.

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