The coffee cup challenge

With the spring flowers coming into bloom in the Cotswolds 2018’s long steamy Summer days and cold dark evenings seem a distant memory but  there’s still one thing I am yet to share from 2018 – a challenge I tasked myself with.

Could I go through the whole of 2018 without using a disposable coffee cup? The short answer is no but it was very close!

I’m a self-proclaimed coffee snob and any opportunity I have I like to sample the wares of independent coffee shops wherever I may be. For me this is usually out on our guided Cotswolds tours when our customers are enjoying their free-time at Chipping Campden, Bourton-on-the-Water or Stow-on-the-Wold where you’ll often find me having a coffee somewhere. Thankfully we’ve finally learned how to do coffee well in the UK and with our increasing array of talented and enthusiastic baristas you’re never too far from a decent brew.

However, one thing that has become an increasing concern is the impact on the environment created by our enthusiasm for a cup of coffee through the rampant use of single use, non-recyclable takeaway coffee cups.

Our friends at www.plasticsfreeproducts.co.uk – who are on crusade to clear up our beaches and go completely plastic free – have some simple, yet sobering stats:

  • Only one percent of single use coffee cups are recycled.
  • The UK throws away close to 2.5billion cups a year.

So if 99% aren’t recycled where are the other 2.475billion going?

It’s easy to pop your cup into a bin but it has to go somewhere and, if it’s not recycled, invariably it will end up in landfill. A sobering thought that, coupled with the negative impact we have on our planet as human beings in general, led me to wonder how I could make a difference, however small. Hence the challenge!

Ultimately I failed but, I hasten to add, I only used 2 disposable coffee cups across the whole of 2018! And I’m someone that has 6-8 coffees a week when I’m out and about.

Adopting my approach to the way I drink coffee easy and I strongly encourage everyone to do the same. I did it two ways; by drinking in or by using my own reusable coffee cup.

I prefer the former especially as it’s led me to get to know some great people in coffee shops across the Cotswolds. However, if I don’t have the time I make do with the latter which is why I always have my reusable coffee cup to hand.

The one I used last year wasn’t great – it spilled frequently and didn’t keep the heat in – so I invested in this this excellent Bottle Bottle reusable mug (see picture) having seen it recommended on https://www.plasticfreeproducts.co.uk/everyday. It’s not plastics free but it certainly is reusable and IT KEEPS YOUR COFFEE HOT FOR AGES!!

It was a challenge for 2018 but it’s now a permanent change for both Lisa & I and although our effort to reject disposable coffee cups will only reduce the total quantity by a minor fraction if more people did the same then that staggering number will reduce. So give it a try – stop using disposable coffee cups!

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