Urban Environment

Waste to go or what disposable cups really mean to us

Wallet, keys, mobile phone – and good to go. Not so good to go is almost every morning traveller’s thirst for some freshly roasted coffee beans and the thereof deriving tons of waste our cities need to cope with every day. 190,000 disposable cups are being thrown away every day in Munich. That means 43,000 felled trees, 1,5 billion litres of water, 111,000 tons of CO2 which ultimately cumulate in 40,000 tons of waste. Just. For. Drinking. Coffee.

But not quite. Each and every one of us knows that it would be cheaper and – in most cases – even more delicious to just pour some coffee at home and bring it with you. Then why don’t we? Sure, time is precious, especially in those early morning hours where you sometimes can’t even open your eyes far enough to put in your contact lenses (just while we’re at it: contact lenses themselves produce around 20 tons of waste every year – how?? Where are my glasses!). Still, time is not the only suspect at hand. Isn’t it rather that balmy and nice feeling of successfully, even gracefully tackling a grey Monday to Friday morning by treating oneself to a truly deserved bit of peace before entering the work place and being devoured by appointments, conferences, colleagues and the sheer dread of working 40+ hours a week? Also: don’t you also feel like looking really important while carrying and enjoying some coffee you bought at some fancy place?

Yes, drinking a coffee to go is convenient. But it is also something psychological we need to be aware of. What remains to be done is finding a good urban alternative: suave and down-to-earth – otherwise, it is just going to be like that New Year’s resolution you had about the cookies and the booze and stuff. Oh look, Samosas and Oreos – who am I to say No?

So: get yourself one of those real fancy (and tightly sealable) mugs. Stay away from the ones with motivational quotes (Don’t dream your life, live your dream – no need to go full carpe diem on anyone. Ever. Oh, or just everything with unicorns and glitter in general. Like IN GENERAL). But there are classy ones and they get even classier in light of the huge favour one does to the environment when using them.

So, fellow urban travellers, what shall it be? Five minutes of forgetful enjoyment every morning or the soothing feeling of taking responsibility for the planet? Sorry for the rhetorical question…

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