If you thought our nation’s leaders were ahead of the curve, think again. After the House returns to work after a week-long recess, they’ll most likely spend Monday morning pouring hot coffee into a cup that’s making a solid comeback after a four year leave: the styrofoam cup. As part of the initiative to phase out Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) Green Capitol program, polystyrene cups will be reintroduced as an option for Capitol coffee drinkers in the building’s cafeteria.
To cut down on waste in the Capitol, Pelosi launched her green program in 2007 when Democrats were in control of the house. The new program brought a bevy of energy and waste cutting initiatives and encompassed everything from climate-friendly vending machines to compact fluorescent lightbulbs to even getting the Capitol Power Plant to switch from burning coal to natural gas. The Green Capitol program in turn reduced overall energy and water consumption by 23 percent and 32 percent over its run.
But it was the $475,000 composting program that may have set the ball rolling towards a dead end. The Green program called for the use of biodegradable utensils and trays made of cornstarch that resulted in leaky take-away boxes, shoddy eating utensils and some disgruntled House reps.
Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on House Administration, was the one to break the news last month that the program would be brought to an end, claiming that it was “neither cost-effective nor energy-efficient.”