I'll admit, I've been a little behind on my 30 Day Challenges (see our first two here and here), but have no fear, this month I'm bringing all the caffeine lovers a real tough one: ditching the hot coffee/tea cup.
Single use hot beverage cups are convenient. They're lightweight which wins compared to having to carry around a reusable cup which can be bulky, heavy, and inconvenient for a lot of city walkers. They're cheap which wins for a quick fix compared to buying a reusable cup (though after multiple refills, this is no longer true). And they're recyclable, right? Not exactly...
We may have shied away from the terrible styrofoam cups we used to use (EXCEPT YOU DUNKIN', I'M LOOKING AT YOU!), but don't let the "recyclable paper cup" fool you, they aren't as eco-friendly as they pretend to be. Maybe you're thinking, "They're not as bad as a plastic cup though!" And that's a fair thought. Except one small (and increasingly smaller in size, but more troublesome) problem...most hot beverage containers are lined with polyethelyne.
Polyethylene is a thin plastic added to coat the inside of many liquid containers (milk, water, hot beverages, etc.) to prevent the liquid from leaking or spilling. While many paper products can be recycled at regular recycling facilities, the difficulty lies in separating this plastic liner from the paper cup itself, which often leads to the cup ending up in landfill. When those cups aren't properly recycled, that plastic breaks down into micro-plastics (that's the increasingly smaller in size part) and we know that's problematic.
In addition to the cups being tough to recycle, many paper products aren't made from recycled material. Meaning, these coffee cups are made from NEW paper and have added NEW plastic for the ULTIMATE CUP aka what I like to call a crap cup.
So, grab yourself a reusable coffee mug. Whether it's one you already have, one your roommate has, one from S'well or REI, and bring your own travel mug every day this month. REALLY challenge yourself. Forget one day? Looks like you'll be needing a new way to get your a morning wake up and midday fix!
*Some information from this article was taken from Independent.co.uk.
Jamie is a musician, avid lover of nature, and a dog momma living a more sustainable life each and every day.