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On May 29, tourists in town for the dedication of the National World War II Memorial were exposed to the latest in disposable drinking-glass technology—
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plastic cups made of corn. Guest Services Inc., the company managing concessions on the Mall, adopted the cups as part of an ongoing environmental program, but visitors seemed more interested in whether they’re an alternative to $3 hot dogs. Told that her lemonade glass was once an ear of maize, Charlotte, N.C., resident Valerie Jolls tried noshing on the cup’s rim. Spokesperson Stephen Halsey, of the PR firm that represents corn-plastic purveyor Cargill Dow, says that the natural-based material breaks down easily in municipal compost piles, but not in human stomachs. “It’s funny when we get that question,” Halsey says. “Whenever I look at a cup, the last thing I think is, I’d like to eat that.” —Sarah Godfrey