Bye bye take away coffee cups – Nothing is ‘disposable’

There is no ‘away’. It all goes somewhere. Once we really tune into that, it’s amazing how much easier it is to shift habits and line our actions back up with our values. This morning as I went from dropping the little man to school, to the city and then Bondi Junction for meetings, there were takeaway coffee cups everywhere – overflowing bins everywhere. Two gorgeous girls looking like mini-me mums, chatting with their take away cups. When I saw them in that second, I realised: Sustainable thinking and habits are either taught or not. Right now we are perpetuating wasteful thinking. We’re not doing it consciously. But we can get conscious and change that thinking – or lack of thinking. We have such a huge potential to empower our kids to think big picture from day dot. No judgy vibes, just an invitation to take a little low tox step with huge benefits to our beautiful planet and the waste levels of our cities.

In the 4 years I’ve been BYO’ing or actually just taking the time to sit in a cafe and enjoy, I’d say 4 times a week, I’ve saved 832 disposable cups.

When travelling last year Sydney – NYC – London – Paris – New York – Sydney for a research trip, I counted the cups saved just on the airplanes with my #BYOMUG – 47. Just me. Just the flights and airports for tea and water (ok, and a couple of gin and soda waters. Fine. You got me!)

Things we need to come to terms with:

  • A lot of people think, still, that because of the papery cup feel, that paper coffee cups are recyclable – not so. Almost all are lined with a very thin plastic (polyethelene) thus stuffing up the recycling process. Plus, when they do eventually break down, we’re talking microplastics, and microplastics are doing the planet zero favours, as we know from examples like microbeads which I’ve written about HERE.
  • It is estimated, that every minute, there are 1 million take away cups going into landfill. (source: KeepCup.com)
  • Biodegradable ‘bio’ type cups, still can’t go into compost household waste, so they are still going into landfill and take years to degrade.
  • If you buy just one cup of coffee in a “disposable” cup each day, you make about 15kgs of waste each year from just that cup.
  • The plastic lids which I’ve written about years ago HERE, are often made of dodgy plastics and again are hard to ensure they’re recycled because of where people normally throw coffee cups away – ie generic bins – AND are far more likely to leach nasties given hot liquid passing through it and into our mouths.

So Let’s quit with the horrible stats and bust this habit.

There is nothing other than convenience for convenience sake that is a positive here so it’s time for more change. If you’re already doing it, inspire others with beaming positivity instead of judgy vibes, to do the same. Buy your friend a cute cup for their birthday for example. Make it fun.

Buy a reusable cup with a lid from BIOME – Such a great range! This is the cute KeepCup a girlfriend got me for my 40th, which I love for when a lid is needed on long car trips.

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  • Use your own mug. I have a cute mug that I use. I love travelling with a light enamel mug. How good is tea and a movie when your’e up in the sky? I have found, too that a cute mug with something fun written on it, is a great conversation starter. It’s less of an ‘environmental statement’ and more of a, well, cute mug. Give it a try and let me know if you strike up conversations over your mug.

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How cool that a friend got my logo printed on a set of enamel mugs!? LOVE them.

  • Set yourself up to SUCCEED. The minute that thing is out of the dishwasher or wash up, Put it where you cannot leave the house without it. I have ours at the kitchen entrance. This was the strategy that really helped us nail it and not forget on the way out. If you’re finding it super hard – put it literally IN FRONT OF THE FRONT DOOR.
  • Possibly overkill, but I keep a mini Dr Bronner liquid soap in my handbag and give the cup a quick rinse out in a loo somewhere or someone’s kitchen if I’m headed to a friend’s house. Then it’s clean and ready to reuse if needed. This is particularly handy for travelling.

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GIVEAWAY TIME

Who is in? Who will pledge to convert a partner or friend or sibling or child? Who wants to do a team challenge with your work place?

For the month of February, if you hashtag #BYOmug and #lowtoxlife on instagram (I’m at @Alexx_Stuart over there) , I will pick 4 winners at the end of Feb to each receive a gorgeous KeepCup (thank you KeepCup!) AND a bottle of Dr Bronner’s soap to keep it clean on the go (thanks Dr Bronner’s for seeing my post and wanting to be a part of it!)  SO: 4 of these packs up for grabs!

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Happy BYO Mugging. Let’s start inspiring change on this because bins like this:

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… No longer an option, right?

Low Tox. Happy Us. Happy Planet

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Comments 12

  1. Alex! You should get those low tox life mugs printed and sell them! That way people can subliminally plant seeds in people’s minds when they see your cup!

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  2. I totally agree!
    This is the first time that i leave a reply on the intenet, but sinds my stay in Sydny (sinds november) I’m shocked about the amount of cups people are using. In Holland (where I’m from), this terrible habit is starting as well (only not as common as here). Just bring your own cool mug and you still can be ‘hip’.

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      Exactly Sonja and I’m glad you commented! Bring your own cool mug indeed. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Sydney x

  3. Hi Alexx,

    I recently saw my integrative doc and he was telling me that take away coffee and such things are full of thormium. This is a radioactive substance/metal that they use to weld together stainless steel. So no doubt I have reduced my takeaway coffee to almost zero!
    The diary industry know about this and do not use stainless steel/thormium based containers!!!

  4. Great article. I’m not a huge take away coffee drinker (prefer to sit and enjoy) and like you, avoid the waste. I was horrified when I visited the US, in so many cafes even dining in, they not only give you the giant size take-away cup, but a lid, a sleeve over the cup and even for two cups of coffee, they’d want to give me a tray to carry them. Drove me insane! They thought I was mad when I asked for my cup (half filled), no lid, no sleeve, no tray

  5. I admittedly find this harder while travelling. I have a glass tea jar I love and will use it for coffee as well, just without the lid (I do not want my tea jar smelling like coffee). There are times I have my reusable water bottle, coffee mug AND tea jar- a little much:) But Ingenuinely thank you for the reminder as I encourage my clients to reduce toxins in their minds and bodies.

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