Trying To Be Greener

Safer eco-living, one day at a time

“Green” your daily cup of Joe September 6, 2008

For four years, I commuted daily by train to my teaching job. I’d leave my home early, wishing I was still in bed, and think about how just getting to work seemed like a job onto itself. But once I was settle in with my book in one hand and my cup of tea in the other, I actually enjoyed the quiet ride.

That cup of tea was what truly made the trip so relaxing. For all of those years, my daily morning routine was heading to the same coffee shop in the train station to buy my medium cup. I would often be given two cups because the tea was so hot and I accepted them because I didn’t want to burn my hands, but it bothered me. How wasteful, I’d think, as I sipped away. I’d do things differently now though.

The Environmental Defense Fund’s Papercalculator estimates that the United States throws out over 16 billion paper cups a year, which works out to 6.57 million trees. These numbers really are not surprising – think of how many people you see on the go with a disposable cup in their hands.

If you are someone who drinks coffee or tea on a regular basis when you’re on the go, strongly consider buying a reusable insulated mug to use instead. If you purchase coffee even just 3 times per week, it would mean not using 156 cups per year. Remember, small changes over time can amount to measurable differences.

Photo from Flickr by b.frahm

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3 Responses to ““Green” your daily cup of Joe”

  1. Criss Says:

    I wrote about (almost) this same thing today!

    I have a travel mug (that I keep in the car, handy for any “emergency” coffeeshop stops), but I want something for cold drinks (carbonated sodas, specifically). I have Nalgene water bottles, which I also use quite a bit, but drinking slushies out of those is weird… Do you know of any stores/websites that sell cold-drink travel mugs (preferably in cool and trendy designs, with a straw)?

    PS – I love your blog! Thanks for the info and inspiration!

  2. Criss,
    You bring up a good question! I don’t personally have one but I’ve heard great things about Camelbak ( They’re BPA-free and they have some very cool looking “special edition” choices. Check out their site to see where you can buy them.

    There’s also the Nathan Stainless Steel water bottle (also PBA-free) with a straw and they also come in some cool designs. Amazon has them – you can find them here:

    Hope this helps and glad to see you’re trying to be greener!

    Kirstin @ Trying To Be Greener

  3. Allie Says:

    Another bonus to bringing your own cup–lots of coffee shops (in St. Paul, MN) offer discounts if you bring in your own mug. Discounts I’ve seen range from $0.15 off your drink (some chains) to one shop I frequent that offers ANY drink for $1.30 a cup. When you do the math, it really saves everybody money and helps keep junk out of landfills.
    Ask around! You never know if your barista will knock down the price for you unless you check. 🙂 Happy sipping!

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