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Answer Man: Those reusable cups don't last long

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Dear Answer Man, how long will those new Starbucks reusable but disposable cups last? They only cost a buck, so it's not a big deal, but I've heard they only last about a month.

The cups look like the standard white Starbucks cups but are made of lightweight recyclable plastic. They only cost a buck, and you get a dime discount on refills, so if you actually use it, the payback is quick. More important, you'll be doing your part to keep heavy-duty paper cups, plus the cardboard "sleeves" and plastic top, from going into the trash burner or landfill.

Good for Starbucks , which has made environmentally responsible practices a core principle. About 4 billion Starbucks cups go into the trash each year; the company goal is to have 5 percent of all drinks sold in reusable cups by 2015, and this inexpensive reusable cup is part of that.

But how long do the cups last? This hasn't been as well-publicized, but they have a relatively short life . My barista said they're good for about 30 uses, which replaces about a pound of paper or roughly 3.5 pounds of wood used to make the paper. Just don't pop them into the dishwasher, or it'll be less than that. They're recyclable -- plastic No. 5 -- but not every recycling firm will sort them out.

They're hard to find, by the way. They've sold out at some stores, and more are on order. If you need one urgently, you can borrow mine -- I keep forgetting to take it with me to the coffee shop.


That was too easy. I'll make this a Tuesday Two-fer for you.

Dear Answer Man, at some of the big churches in Rochester, it takes forever to get out after services and it really affects traffic on the main roads. One is on 55th Street Northwest and the other is at Autumn Ridge, on Salem Road. I drove past Autumn Ridge Sunday and the lines were ridiculous. It took several minutes for people to get out of the parking lot and into traffic. Shouldn't the churches do something about it? -- Gabriel

Short of having pastors directing traffic, I'm not sure what can be done at this point, but I agree, it's a traffic problem for a short time on Sunday mornings. Gabriel is referring to Christ Community Church , at 4400 55th St. N.W., and Autumn Ridge Church, 3611 Salem Road S.W., but there are plenty of other churches where it's a hazard also.

Just be patient -- it's a pretty short-lived problem every Sunday. They're not going to put stoplights on Salem Road or 55th Street just to deal with a Sunday morning problem.

I've been at both churches and can share some traffic advice for Autumn Ridge: If you're leaving the church parking lot, use the west exit onto Salem Road, and then be generous to those who are trying to get out of the east exit.

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