I wanted to expand a little on one of my goals for the year. I said I wanted to go green and mentioned that one of the big sources of waste for me was disposable coffee cups.
I do want to go on record to say that I’m not going to judge someone if they use a disposable cup… You do what you gotta do. Instead, I’m sharing what I’m doing and why I’m doing it and if it inspires you to do the same, great. Even if it inspires you to cut back a little, great. Even if it just makes you think twice before getting one, great.
Because I work from home, I generally drink coffee… at home. Which means I have the luxury of using mugs and glasses for my coffee and water. I don’t have to worry about transporting them around or spilling on my way to work– it’s a short commute between my kitchen and my desk 😉
But because I work from home… I use going to coffee shops as an excuse to get out of the house a bit. By mid-afternoon, I’m usually going stir crazy and need to get out for a bit. I typically eat lunch out because of this and grab a coffee on the way home (or eat leftovers and then go get a coffee). Sometimes I end up making a second trip even later in the afternoon/early evening if I have a particularly heavy workload. Those cups add up.
Honestly, I never really thought much of it. But last year I started making (small) “green” changes to my lifestyle about waste and health (like this and this). And it’s a little bit like a snowball effect here. Once I made one change and realized how great it felt (and how easy it was), I wanted to make another. And another.
Instead of thinking of it as a complete lifestyle overhaul, I think it’s easier to focus on one habit at a time. It’s so much more manageable that way, and at the very least, it feels more “doable” than trying to go from sixty-to-zero-waste overnight.
All of a sudden, my coffee cup consumption seemed outrageous and I knew I wanted to add it to my list of efforts.
I’ve pretty much stuck with Tervis Tumblers and S’Well bottles because those both pass my “mug test.” I primarily use them for water during workouts. But I wanted something more coffee specific. I took to Twitter and got a TON of great suggestions. (There was also a thread in my blog’s private Facebook group– I encourage you to join there if you haven’t already! I love it!)
And, in full transparency, I knew that something “new” would excite me for the challenge. I’m not saying that’s the best mentality but it definitely worked for me. I was excited about it and I haven’t forgotten it once yet. Per everyone’s recommendations, I went on the hunt for two Yeti tumblers– one to replace the typical “to-go cup” and one for when I need to throw something into a bag.
Something I didn’t expect happened though:
I like it BETTER than the to-go cups.
Going into this, I felt like I was going to be doing a sort of sacrifice for this. (Not in a martyr kind of way, but in the sense that I felt like I was doing something less convenient and less “good” for me in an effort to be better for the environment.)
What I didn’t expect was to like it better than the disposable cups. There’s been a slight adjustment to my daily habits, but the benefits way outweigh them. For example, I can’t to mobile order for Starbucks and I’m skipping my usual afternoon cappuccino for drip coffee instead*. At best, that saved me two minutes of my time. And is waiting in line, engaging with the barista, and skipping a fancier more expensive drink really horrible? Not at all.
* So everything I read online says that if you order a specialty drink and bring your own cup, they still use a plastic/paper cup to make/measure the drink for health and accuracy reasons, which would defeat the green part. Not sure if that’s the case everywhere so it’s worth asking your go-to spot what they do.
I also found that tumblers do their job really well. (Like almost too well in some cases because I’ve already burned my tongue twice fifteen minutes after I brought the coffee home.) Because the coffee stays so hot for so long, I’m able to thoroughly enjoy it without wasting a single drop. (Those paper cups don’t keep coffee hot for very long and who wants to drink lukewarm coffee???) I love that I can get a coffee on my way home from lunch, keep it on my desk, and drink it an hour or two later when I’m ready for it. Or savor it throughout the afternoon– every sip as hot as the last.
Anyway, just wanted to share my experience in case you’re considering doing the same. It’s been great so far!
To answer some of the questions I got about my other green habits I’m working on:
Most of my “workhorse” dishtowels (i.e. not my decorative ones) got lost somehow during my move. I only have three right now, and we’ve been overusing paper towels. I’m a big paper towel girl as it is, again, not proud of it. So this is something else I thought I could more easily change. I had some reward points from Williams-Sonoma so I used them to buy a couple of sets of dishtowels to use instead of paper– these are my favorite for the kitchen and they wash wonderfully.
I mentioned that I have already mostly stopped using plastic bags for groceries/errands. (I have a collection of canvas totes from random brands and shops that we use– but I’m going to hunt down a Baggu that I can fold up tiny to keep in my purse for when I find myself out and about and in a pinch.) However, someone asked what I do about plastic bags for dog poop. I still use small plastic bags for that. I have these that are supposedly “better” for the environment and are at least made of recycled materials, which might be as good as it gets for picking up dog poop? Open to suggestions if you have them, but my thought process is that keeping streets/sidewalks/parks healthy and clean for kids/people/animals is worth the bit of plastic.