Why You Should be Carrying a Reusable Coffee Cup

For all you coffee connoisseurs, it’s time to ditch the disposable coffee cups and invest in a reusable one. Why is this so important?

Well, first let’s take a look at the environmental impact that paper coffee cups have.

You head to Starbucks to get your caramel macchiato and you think you’re being “eco-friendly” because your hot beverage comes in a “paper” cup. Well, not quite. What a lot of people don’t know is that these “paper” cups are actually lined with a plastic called polyethylene which makes the cups difficult to be effectively recycled because the plastic can’t be easily separated from the paper on the cup. Therefore, you should not be throwing your Starbucks or Dunkin paper cups in the recycling bin. So, they’re really not so “eco-friendly” after all, because they end up in the landfill.

Plastic coffee cups like Dunkin iced coffee cups can be recycled, but this is not the answer to our plastic problem. Only about 9% of the items that enter recycling bins is actually ever recycled – meaning 91% ends up in the landfill. So, when you throw your iced coffee cup in the recycling bin (without the straw, because those can’t even be recycled), there’s no guarantee that it will actually be recycled.

Another aspect of disposable cups that we often overlook is the amount of resources it takes to manufacture the cups. In the US alone, 58 billion paper cups are used every year (and this doesn't even include the plastic ones). Naturally, trees have to be cut down to make the paper that these cups are manufactured with. With the loss of trees, carbon dioxide in our atmosphere increases, which is a major pollutant to our environment. Chemicals like methane are also released into the atmosphere when these cups are decomposing, which is another dangerous greenhouse gas. The amount of energy used in the production and transportation of cups also intensive (think of the miles that trucks drive to transport materials and final products.)

So, is a reusable cup the best option when it comes to coffee on the go?

Yes. By using a reusable, you're cutting down on waste tremendously. Most reusables will last you anywhere between 5-10 years (and some even more) - so think about how many disposable cups you're diverting from the landfill.  If you buy one coffee every day for 8 years, you're diverting 2,920 cups. And we love our Earth, right? So let's do our best to protect it.

Another great thing about reusable cups is that they're insulated, so they'll keep your drinks hotter or colder for much longer than those paper and plastic cups. Plus, there's so many cute designs and colors of reusable coffee cups out there, you can get one that is unique! 

Many coffee shops like Dunkin' and Starbucks actually give you a discount if you bring your own cup.

Yep, that's right. You pay less for your coffee and you get to help the environment out at the same time - why isn't everyone doing this?! Many people think "oh, it's just one coffee cup." But when 7.5 billion people think this way, it starts to add up.

Our invidiual choices we make every day can have an impact. If we want to see changes, we have to make them.

So what can you do?

It's super simple. You can find a reusable coffee cup pretty much anywhere - from Target and Amazon to Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks themselves, there's a variety of options to choose from. Pick a coffee cup that you'll enjoy drinking your coffee from - whether this means a fun design or unique shape. Make sure to bring it with you in the morning when you're heading out for class or work. Another great tip is to always have a backup cup in your car or backpack/purse so if you're out and want a coffee, you don't have to purchase a disposable plastic or paper cup. 

If you know friends or family who are always buying disposables, buy them reusables for Christmas or their birthdays! This can be a great way to introduce a more sustainable lifestyle to those close to you.

If you're like us, you drink a lot of coffee - which means a reusable cup is a necessity. So, remember that reusable cup of yours and encourage others to do the same!


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