On my college campus there were two places to find the most traffic – the main library, and the coffee shop connected. Clearly there was a correlation. During midterms alone, I probably went through 15-20 cups of coffee, and an all-nighter could mean anywhere from 3-5 cups in less than 12 hours. With 1500 students in my graduating class studying for equally difficult tests, we were using thousands of plastic coffee cups, and they were all ending up in the trash within 20 minutes of their purchase.
In the past few years, students have invested in reusable coffee mugs for late night library trips. This has helped us to reduce our campus’ carbon footprint immensely. However, many of us, including myself, struggled to keep the plastic waste down when we wanted our caffeine on the rocks. Once Spring came around I had probably used somewhere between 45-70 plastic ice coffee containers (yeah – I drink a lot of coffee).
Obviously we don’t just kick our caffeine cravings on graduation day. I’m sure the same goes for those men and women making early morning coffee stops before the daily grind (pun intended). Since ice coffee is much more common in these hot summer months, and all of those plastic cups go straight to our landfills, we need an alternative.
Well the answer has come! Coffee product companies have developed an ingenious reusable ice coffee cup that both resembles the original we love and virtually eliminates the plastic waste.
Check out a few of our favorite hot and iced coffee reusable options. Your environmental payback will be soon realized and the recycling bins at your work or home will not fill so quickly.
- Copco Acadia Reusable 16oz Mug 4-pack
Copco Cold Beverage Cup: This is the product that I use. It was only about $10 and is easily transportable in a backpack or big purse. It’s my favorite because it resembles the ice coffee cup I’ve been using for years, and has more space for ice than a typical reusable mug.
- Smart Planet Eco Travel Mug with Aqua Blue Sleeve 12-Oz: This is a little cheaper than the Copco and resembles a regular coffee cup. If you’re like me, you associate ice coffee with a translucent cup and straw so this may not be for you. But if you’re more willing to compromise the than I am, this is a cheaper option and can be used for both hot and cold drinks
- The Glass Roots Movement: These reusable cups are made completely out of glass in an effort to avoid any and all plastic use. I myself have never used one, but reviews seem to be in high regard for these durable products. Unfortunately they are currently sold out and won’t be selling them again until next January. Demand clearly overwhelmed their initial estimate, must be on to sometime. Just keep on the look out if you’re really interested in avoiding plastic products completely.
The up front investment is minimal ($10-15) . I don’t know about your local coffee shop, but at my university, coffee prices were reduced if you brought in a reusable cup. Instead of the normal $1.25 for black coffee, I only had to pay $0.85 so it only took me about a month to break even. Ask your local coffee shop if they have any green deals. Plus, I guarantee at least three looks of approval from people you stand with in line.