Thursday, February 15, 2007

Keep Your Habits to Yourself

It's as easy as just DECIDING that no more paper or styrofoam cups are going into the landfill because of your coffee or tea or (insert drink of choice here) habit. Carry your personal to-go mug with you ALL the time and carry an extra too, in case you're with a friend and they don't have one (or you want to surprise a friend with a yummy drink). Search the thrift stores for them, I almost always see them there. The waxed paper cups don't biodegrade very easily, can't be recycled, and are completely unnecessary. Styrofoam? Well, that falls under the "refuse" category. Please don't use styrofoam. Ever. Styrofoam, also known as polystyrene, falls under the category of a code number 6 plastic. Plastics are derived from petroleum: a non-renewable resource. To recycle strofoam is a very difficult, expensive, and dirty business. And in my area, it isn't even an option (nobody here recycles styrofoam).

Here's a dilemma for you: The other night I had a night alone with my journal. I went to my favourite coffee house and placed my order. As I was paying, I noticed she'd pulled out a paper cup in which to make my coffee. "Oh no! It's to stay," I said. "We close in 10 minutes so we can't give you a porcelain cup" was her answer. So I chose to go somewhere else. The "somewhere else" joint was open for hours, so I placed my order gave them my money, took my number and found a table. Minutes later she comes over with a paper cup. "Oh no!" I cried, "Why paper?" "We haven't had time to run the dishwasher" was her reply. Aaagh! WHAT TO DO? I've already paid, the drink's already been made, and had I known I would've run out and got my own cup from my car. My lesson? ALWAYS carry your own cup. Even when you're planning to "drink in"...


Andrea said...

Okay, any ideas for this? I have a case of styrofoam cups (those ones that show up at IWS) that was given to me... What should be done with these? They are already purchased. Any ideas?

Mary-Sue said...

Well, that's so completely up to you, of course. If it was me, I would find a place (like maybe the homeless shelter?) that already buys styrofoam cups and give the cups to them. They're going to buy them anyway, might as well get yours free. Then I would put out a call to your community to donate any used mugs they aren't using anymore (I'm sure I have a couple I could part with). Then I would find either find a good container (cardboard box or a plastic milk crate) to take them home to wash, or bring some dishsoap and a good rag to wash them in the bathroom sink at your school. I'd also rinse them in vinegar (if washing them at the school) to help kill any germs.
I have some old glass Christmas mugs that someone was throwing away that I use throughout the year when large groups of people come. They're pretty sturdy and I just keep them in a cardboard pop crate in my basement.