Reading an article debating the energy costs of ceramic and disposable cups and mugs, I came to the same conclusion others did: use the mug. The energy input has already been made, most people have a bunch already, plus drinking coffee and tea from a ceramic mug or cup is nicer than drinking from one made of paper.
The mug holding this morning's tea is about thirteen years old, and is swag -- a promotional piece -- from my internship church. But apart from the utility of having a mug -- and I have others -- what good is it for a church to have promotional goods? As it is, most people are pretty good at disregarding advertising, even as cheaply made goods litter our homes and public spaces: I would rather my person and home not be a commercial display piece. Hubby, Mom and I were resolute -- perhaps for our own different reasons -- in refusing the crap offered us by nearly all Vietnam Veterans Memorial parade sponsors. I weakened when offered a handful of pens, and even these were tossed later. Who makes goods -- the caps, posters, "stress balls", notepads, letter openers, and the like -- that are cheap enough to give away in bulk? Don't expect fair trade (though there are US and union manufacturers, notably for the union swag-giving market) if all the "Made in China" labels are any judge.
The short message: as marketing changes, we can let old marketing necessities drop.