Disposable beverage coasters are generally used in bars and restaurants as a cheap and effective way of keeping condensation off of the tables. They can consist of any inexpensive material, although usually it is something that absorbs water. The most common disposable coaster is a cocktail napkin slipped under a beverage.
The good news is that most of the materials that would make a good disposable coaster are biodegradable, such as paper or cork. That means even though they create a lot of unnecessary trash, it won’t take much for nature to re-incorporate them back into the environment.
The real problem with these coasters is that they are a symptom of a philosophical error in our society’s way of thinking. Standing at the threshold of mechanization, we are a society that produces, and consumes. It’s a matter of simple convenience, disposable items don’t have to be washed, they don’t have to be taken care of, and they can simply be tossed away.
In this way, our culture has become a mass producer of garbage, albeit temporarily useful garbage. And instead of developing new thoughts and innovations, we instead waste our time with the mindless production of consumables.
As mechanization continues, disposables will become easier, cheaper, and more readily available. Instead of looking for the next great drink coaster, we are going to search endlessly for the cheapest, ugliest, and most disposable coaster. In this way we will make our world ugly, and pathetic. In effect, we will be developing a disposable world.