I really don’t want to be *that* person but I’ve been avoiding takeaway cups for years. I also discovered Amy Schumer and My Favorite Murder before you, but who’s counting? (Hint: Me. I am.) I bought my first Keep Cup when I moved to Melbourne in 2009 and used it up until a few years ago when the lid broke. I wasn’t too keen on replacing it with another plastic cup and when I was last looking at replacing it you couldn’t dishwash the new glass Keep Cups so I didn’t buy one. Everything must be dishwasher safe in my land. I don’t buy clothes that need ironing and I don’t buy kitchenware that requires hand washing.
It seems like a super simple thing but it’s quite hard to get used to and you do have to plan ahead. Ditching takeaway cups doesn’t happen by accident.
1. Bring an actual mug
If you live or work walking distance from the cafe you most often go to, just take a ceramic mug with you. Lots of cafes are now hosting little mug libraries where you can take a mug from the library and then return it the next day. Isn’t that just the cutest idea? I have so many mugs in my cupboard I never use, if I could find a cafe with a mug library I’d donate them. This works really well in the workplace too because you can load everyone up with their own mug on the way out the door. No excuses.
2. Buy a reusable coffee cup
I’m weird about drinking warm milk out of plastic. Not because I think plastic is going to give us all cancer (although it might…) it’s because I don’t like the taste. This doesn’t give me a get of jail free card to get disposable takeaway cups everywhere I go though. If you don’t mind drinking coffee out of plastic (honestly hardly anyone does, I’m just a bit weird) I know lots of people who love their Frank Green and Keep Cups. Frank Green now have stainless steel versions of their cups and I’ve finally got the reusable cup of my dreams. It does have a plastic lid but it doesn’t taste like anything and the stainless steel keeps the coffee hot for AGES. I’m in love.
3. Use a glass jar
I’ve had dozens of people ask me how I use a glass jar for a re-usable coffee mug (like heaps and heaps!) and it honestly couldn’t be simpler. You just hand it to the barista, they put coffee in it and then you drink out of it. There’s no fancy little hole for you to drink out of, you just use like you’d use a regular glass in your house. Sometimes people ask me how I stop the coffee from slopping out when I walk – I just walk carefully or put the lid on. I’ve never had any issues with it and it’s dishwasher safe. I’ve also used it to get gelato and I’ve drunk wine out of it at a picnic. Any time I’d use a paper cup, I use my jar instead. I even take it to conferences to make tea in. It’s so little, I just pop it in my bag and I’m good to go. I’ve recently had to stop using my glass jar because the lid was peeling and I didn’t fancy flecks of paint in my drinks so I’ll have to look at stripping the paint of it in a safe way if that’s even possible.
4. Sit down and have your coffee at the cafe
Part of the awesomeness of the war on waste movement is that it coincides so nicely with the slow living thing. Cutting down waste usually takes up a little bit more of your time (like making your own almond milk or going to the farmers market instead of the supermarket down the road) but isn’t that what we’re all craving these days? If you can leave the house 20 minutes earlier and have your morning coffee actually sitting down at the cafe, how ace would that be?
5. Maybe don’t get a coffee
If I forget to bring my jar with me when I leave the house or I go somewhere I didn’t expect to need it, I’ll often do without. I used to just buy a coffee in a disposable cup every now and then and not worry about it but it becomes habit forming. If I let it happen once, it starts to creep in every now and then and before I know it my Keep Cup sat unused on the shelf for a month. For example, you have to take your own bags to the supermarket now or buy the awful ones they sell if you forgot. If I keep letting myself buy coffees in disposable cups, I won’t learn. It’s not likely I’ll die without a coffee and if it was so important to me, I would have brought my jar with me. Same with my eco bags at the supermarket – If that’s important to me, I’ll wait to do my shopping until I have them with me. I do OCCASIONALLY buy a bag at the supermarket but I’m getting pretty good at carrying them with me all the time.