The Disposable Cup Dilemma

I usually frequent coffee shops to get my work done and hang out, but there's one thing that drives me absolutely nuts: the amount of disposable cups. A lot of people sit in the coffee shop while drinking their coffee/tea, that's sitting in a to-go cup, and throw out the cup before leaving. I've seen this numerous times. It's like to-go cups have become the trendiest fashion accessory. 

The disposable cup dilemma is huge; over 1.6 billion disposable coffee cups get tossed in the trash every year in Canada. Another widespread problem is that each coffee shop has their own standards on what their disposable cups are made out of. It can range from polystyrene, wax-coated paper, or compostable, plant based material. Let's not forget about the plastic lid and the cardboard sleeve, which usually ends up in the trash.

zerowastecoffeecup

With 500 billion cups being used every day, it's time to cut down on the waste factor. If you're like me and enjoy lounging in and supporting local coffee shops, remember, the best way to reduce waste is not to produce it in the first place. We are ethically responsible to recognize our part of the disposable coffee cup dilemma and do something about it.

My tip of the day: swap out a disposable cup for a reusable travel mug or mason jar.

(At the very least if you happen to take a disposable cup, opt out of taking the plastic lid).

I was looking for an alternative to a coffee shop in my neighbourhood (Main St) and stumbled upon a juice bar, called Radicle Juice. It's a stylish and bright spot that offers fresh juices and smoothies. And my favourite part about this place is that they offer juice tumblers! 

A wonderful idea! A juice tumbler...and my new coffee mug, no more burnt hands with this fancy handle. 

A wonderful idea! A juice tumbler...and my new coffee mug, no more burnt hands with this fancy handle. 

You can buy a reusable jar and you get 50 cents off each time you reuse it. I decided to sit here and get some work done as they have a little bar (and an upstairs area), I noticed they asked people if they wanted a reusable tumbler and most of the time, people said yes. They also asked if people needed a straw instead of just handing them out.

What if coffee shops started asking people if they wanted a reusable cup instead of just giving out disposable ones so easily. Theres a cool coffee shop in Los Angeles  that doesn't even give consumers the option of using plastic or paper. Coffee gets served in reusable glass! I really respect places that take a stand go against the norm to do what's right. Even using fully compostable cups makes a difference! 

References:

  • http://www.carryyourcup.org/get-the-facts
  • http://www.nosleeveplease.com
  • http://www.thebetacup.com/about/
  • http://www.thelittleblackcoffeecup.com/blog/togo
  • http://thenotepasser.com/blog/2014/12/29/zero-waste-coffee
  • http://www.sfu.ca/sustainability/talking/waste/2014/confused-about-coffee-cups.html
  • http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/brainstuff/fun-kind-of-shocking-facts-about-disposable-coffee-cups/