Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Green Living Challenge #3: Petrochemicals in Your Coffee Cup

Since I posted about reduce/reuse/recycle yesterday, I thought I'd keep with that theme and chalk up another 5 points in Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment's Green Living Challenge ...

Use a reusable mug when purchasing coffee or tea

From EcoCupInfo.com:

Every year, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee. Of those, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups— enough to wrap the earth 55 times if placed end-to-end! Those paper cups contain a plastic lining made from a petrochemical that would produce enough energy to heat 8,300 homes. That’s a town the size of Newtown, Connecticut.
I'm willing to bet that if they were called petrochemical cups instead of paper cups, a lot more people would bring their own travel mugs. I've always had a travel mug or two in the cabinet, but I usually only break them out when I'm bringing a big cup of coffee at the start of a long drive.

Part of the reason this hasn't registered with me until now is that I rarely buy brewed coffee. I have a coffee-maker at work, and I'm religious about making it there, bringing in cream and sugar, etc. Not to get all coffeenerdness, but I've always preferred a strong cup of drip coffee to a cappuccino/latte/whatever anyway, and when the lattes are $4 compared with $10 for an entire pound of coffee beans, it's an easy choice.

But I watch co-workers go out for coffee several times a day, coming back with a new, white, bleached paper cup every time. Is coffee really that hard to wash off of a cup? There's even a dishwasher in the office! Keep a couple of travel mugs handy and you'll never have to lift a sponge!

OK, I suppose ranting won't win any converts, but here's something that might. The Daily Grind location at N. Quincy and N. Fairfax in Ballston is offering special Green Living Challenge travel mugs. At $10, they're cheaper than Starbucks travel mugs, and Daily Grind will give you refills for just $1. Get it refilled every day for two weeks and you've made your money back.

So now I have the tools (shiny new travel mug), the motivation (of completing the challenge), and the desire (Daily Grind makes a nice strong Guatemalan) to complete another step of the challenge! You can track my progress here.

Points for this action: 5

Total points to date: 45

Points needed to complete Green Living Challenge: 100
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