The Coffee Cup Revolution: Let's Take a Stand!
I can't stand walking into a coffee shop, ordering a cup of java to stay, and having my coffee served up in a paper cup. Even worse, I get not only one, but two cups stacked together, with a paper sleeve around it to prevent my tender fingers from being burned.
Had my coffee been served to me in a mug (I did say I was staying after all), I could have enjoyed a more luxurious and homey coffee experience, my fingers would remain in tact, and two paper cups and a paper sleeve could have stayed out of the landfills.
- When you purchase one cup of coffee (or tea) in a disposable container every day, you create about 23 lb of waste each year. -Ideal Bite
- About eighteen percent of garbage we produce is composed of disposable containers, of which hot beverage cups represent a large portion.
- Styrofoam cups are the worst culprits, as it never degrades. Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups every ear. Even 500 years from now, the foam coffee cup you used this morning will be sitting in a landfill somewhere. -The Recycler's Handbook
- Starbucks just started rolling out new cups that contain 10% recycled paper. (Whoopee).
Whether made of recycled paper or not, disposable hot beverage cups more often than not end up in landfills.
What Coffee Shops are Doing About It
Despite my sarcasm, there is a slow (agonizingly slow) movement towards reducing coffee cup waste problems. More and more places are using recycled paper cups, and some will provide discounts if you bring your own cup. (However, a $0.10 discount on a $2 cup of coffee is hardly incentive if the discount is intended to be enough incentive for the masses - but you have to start somewhere I guess).
Other places yet will also offer discounts on refills for using the same paper cup they gave you last time. This is handy if you are staying for the afternoon and swilling coffee or tea, but in my mind the discount is still not much of a recompense.
What We can do About It
The next time you order a coffee to stay and they pull out a paper cup, reiterate that you are planning to stay with the coffee. If they cannot serve your coffee in a mug, then walk out. I know, I know - their coffee is the best, and you really like their ambience. But there is nothing like taking a consumer stance en mass. That is how change is affected. And if you simply must drink your java here, then read on:
Take your own mug. There are plenty of fancy little coffee thermos-mugs you can tote around with you, and many places will give you a discount for bringing your own mug too. And if you are worried about the mug in your car finding its way to the office, and the one in your office ending up on your kitchen counter all resulting in you never having the mug when you need it, then keep a mug at home, one in the car, and another in the office. That way there will always be one handy when you need a coffee or tea fix.
The first few times you walk out of a coffee shop because all they would serve are paper cups or because they won't serve you in your own mug, you may feel strange. But soon enough a feeling of consumer power will set in, and hopefully you'll tell two friends about your action plan. They'll discover for themselves the satisfaction of making positive change one cup of coffee at a time, and they'll each tell two friends too.
And so a coffee cup revolution begins.