Takeaway coffees are responsible for a HUGE amount of trash, and are not the harmless cardboard cup they appear to be. Here's a few reasons why you should make the switch, and some easy alternatives to switch to!
The plastic lining on your quick takeaway coffee will outlive you, and may also release harmful chemicals into your coffee.
Did you know that your takeaway coffee cup actually has a plastic lining? Whether it's a 'Biocup' or a regular convenient cup, that plastic lining means that the cup is not recyclable, and won't ever biodegrade.
In Australia, we use about a billion coffee cups a year (that's almost 3 million a day). And that's nothing compared to the USA, who annually throw away over 25 billion! All these cups (not to mention the lids) are used for approximately ten minutes.
They then last F O R E V E R.
The need to make a switch was highlighted recently on Australian documentary series War On Waste as they filled a Melbourne tram with 30 minutes worth of disposed coffee cups - about 50,000 !!
And it's not just the waste and environmental impacts that are a problem - the lining also may leach harmful chemicals into your coffee or chai. Bisphenol A (BPA) for example is a plastic additive often used in coffee cup linings, lids, and other food packaging. It's been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, abnormal penile development, neurobehavioral problems (e.g. ADHD), obesity, diabetes, and can be harmful even at low doses.
Scared yet? You should be. But luckily the solution to this one is super easy. Just stop using single use coffee cups.
Alternatives to the Evil Disposable Cup
1) Sit down and drink your coffee in a cup.
This one is easy, and while it takes slightly longer I also think this may be generally good for mental health. Be like Gus, pictured here enjoying his soy cappuccino, and stop rushing around and make time to sit and appreciate your coffee. If this isn't an option, then don't worry there's heaps of other things you can do!
2) BYO DIY mug
A jar makes a great mug, it even has a sealed lid! To keep your coffee warmer, you can add a stubby cooler (or koozie if you want to get European), or even an old wetsuit sleeve will do the job! If you want to get really creative, there are also many inspirational ideas on Pinterest. There's a tutorial here if you feel like getting really crafty and sewing some Christmas gifts. Go crazy and let your creativity fly.
3) Buy a fancy one
There is a HUGE range of different cups out there to suit your needs - whether you want to show off your nerdy side with an R2D2 KeepCup, or pay for your coffee with a chip built into your reusable cup.
4) Support the Movement
Talk to your local cafe about alternatives to takeaway cups.
Many cafes have banned takeaway cups in Australia and New Zealand.
For example. Sydney's Indigo Lane says 80% of their customers now BYO cup, and if they forget there are free mugs available (donated by the local second hand store).
Some cafes have implemented Mug Libraries like this one pictured above - customers can borrow a cup if they forget their own. If you're a forgetful person, maybe working with you local cafe to implement something like this his is the solution for you.
Talk to cafes, talk to fellow coffee drinkers, talk to your friends - spread the word.
5) Save Money
To help you save up for the super awesome limited edition Keep Cup, you can head to cafes which give you a discount if you bring your own cup. And encourage your local cafes to sign up too.
Responsible Cafes have an interactive map to help you find a cafe near you.
We have all the solutions we need to ditch the single use 'disposable' coffee cup, and make a huge positive impact. The average US office worker uses 500 coffee cups per year. Think about how many cups you use, and how many cups you will easily save by going reusable.