Everyday Environmentalist

Use Reusable Coffee Mugs

"Bring your own reusable coffee mug every time you buy coffee by the cup."

Melissa Weigel, associate director of philanthropy for the Conservancy's Pennsylvania Chapter

By Melissa Weigel

Mmm… coffee…

If you’re like me, you like to start every day with a fresh cup of coffee (or two). And, I’d guess most of you work in offices that have a good supply of mugs to use. But what about when you’re on the road? Or on the weekends when you are really craving that skinny vanilla latte?

Here’s a simple tip that will help save both the environment and you money. Bring your own reusable coffee mug every time you buy coffee by the cup.

Did you know that during the manufacturing process, paper coffee cups are laminated with a plastic resin called polyethylene? This helps keep beverages warm and prevents the paper from absorbing liquids and leaking — but the plastic also prevents the cup from being recycled.

Need more convincing? Let’s take a look at the numbers: 16 billion paper cups are used for coffee every single year. This translates to over 6.5 million trees cut down, 4 billion gallons of water wasted, and enough energy used to power nearly 54,000 homes for a year.

Plus, many coffee shops offer discounts to customers that bring their own mugs (at Starbucks, it’s a 10 cent discount). More importantly, though, by switching from paper cups to reusable mugs, you’ll also help save paper, reduce chlorine used to bleach cups and lessen your contribution to landfills.

I'll raise a cup of Joe to that.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not represent those of The Nature Conservancy.


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