Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Living sustainably on a budget: to-go mug

Before the rest of the world freaks out I should admit outright that I hate coffee. It's bitter and caffeine makes me shake and not sleep. I hate the stuff, except when it is smothered in sugar, whipped cream, and carmel (and it's decaf). The only coffee I will even get close to is if it's in a carmel, decaf, soy frappuccino. But I hate, with a fiery passion, the waste that goes into consuming one of these things. The plastic cup, lid, and straw cannot even be recycled. I don't know what took me so long, but I finally brought my insulated mug to enjoy a frozen drink instead of a hot one.

Images courtesy of Klean Kanteen

It is depressing to think about how many disposable coffee cups we use every day. Per year we throw away more than 16 billion cups. The endless piles of them that grow and grow in our landfills. And yet they are so easy to avoid. 

- Make your coffee or tea at home. Not only are you saving the ridiculous waste and packaging, you will also make a drink that is better for you. Any time I go to a cafe I am stunned at the amount of ingredients they put in simple things like coffee and iced tea. Why do we need so many syrups and additives? You can also make it exactly to your taste and enjoy it without waiting in lines.

- If you are going to a cafe bring a mug or commuter mug from home. Not only will you be saving that paper cup, but you will also be able to keep your drink warm or cold for hours. (My mugs can also be turned upside down without spilling which means I can carry them around campus without worrying about wearing it or spilling it all over my books.)

- If you get a drink out every day you can keep a mug in your car for the days you forget, or switch it out every day for a clean one. 

Ditching the single use paper or plastic cup benefits the environment, saves you money, and is much nicer to drink out of, whether your beverage is hot or cold. 

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