the coffee dilemma

Firstly, I’m sorry this is day late.

This, dear readers, is my beloved Keep Cup:

I bought it late last year after the untimely death of my coffee plunger led to me ducking next door more and more frequently for my favourite soy cappuccinos. Every time I threw a disposable cup into the bin, I felt a pang of (admittedly somewhat self-righteous) guilt. So much waste! So much energy going into the production of each cup! So many forests destroyed, so many cute baby animals dying for the cardboard!

While it wasn’t quite that dramatic, there was always that thought at the back of my mind, that this was a completely unnecessary waste. So I did some research. What I found was this:

-paper cups cannot be recycled. The lining (polyethylene) that stops the coffee going in the top and dropping straight back out the bottom ensures the cups go straight to landfill.

-keepcup cite an estimate of 500 billion disposable cups being produced annually, using enormous amounts of virgin paper pulp (there are contamination concerns about using recycled paper). I’d use a more “reliable” source except that I can only find US figures, which don’t really give the full picture (1)

-According to finding of an independent Life Cycle Assessment conducted by the Centre for Design at RMIT, over a 12 month period, a KeepCup [or any other reusable coffee cup worth its salt] will use half the carbon, one third of water use, and half the energy use of a disposable cup (2)

-this table (click on it to make it legible) (3)


Of course, using reusable cups only works if you use it enough times – I have seen estimates anywhere between 16-24 uses.  For me, that was easy done and for $14, it was a no brainer.  I’m always surprised though, how few KeepCups I see around the place.  I’m not sure why – whether it’s disinterest, laziness or lack of knowledge of their availability and cheapness.

Do you have a reusable cup?  If not, I’m genuinely curious as to your reason – no judgement involved :]

If you’re interested in KeepCups though, you can create your own here: Of course, there are also thousands of other varieties of reusable cup, I just happen to like mine a lot :] And no, I wasn’t paid for this little propaganda gem.





4 thoughts on “the coffee dilemma

  1. Yep, we (my wife and I) have reusable cups. We very rarely go to coffee shops, however we use the cups to bring tea to work.

    As to why reusable cups are not as popular, I believe it is a combination of laziness, convenience (of the disposable cups) lack of education as to the impacts of the cups and the lack of a proper fee (or tax) on such products that reflects their impacts on our natural resources. But that is just my opinion.

  2. No. I do drink tea, but I’m unlikely to buy it while I’m out and about; it’s too expensive, and I like to spend my money on other things. Would I buy one? Maybe for the novelty factor. I can imagine that even if I bought tea on a regular basis I would quickly tire of carrying the cup around with me all day.

  3. Nope, but I expect they’d reject it if it was all gross. Or maybe they’d assume I deserved whatever funky, rotten-coffee-illness I got as a result. I don’t really know! I clean mine after each cup

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