Oregon's oldest grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a sustainable future through local efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Single Use Coffee Cup Reduction

Recycling Advocates’ 2016 campaign is focused on reducing the number of disposable, single use coffee cups going into area landfills. Our slogan is “Choose to Reuse!” which we will use across future campaigns too. Graphics will be posted in the fall of 2016, so check back for updates.

 

No_Disposable_Coffee_Cups_Choose_To_Reuse

Why did we select this campaign?

  1. Portlanders LOVE their coffee!
  2. Disposable coffee cups are NOT recyclable!
  3. EACH disposable coffee cup is responsible for 0.24 lbs of carbon (C02) greenhouse gas emissions
  4. The environmental IMPACT of disposable coffee cups is enormous!

Did you know?

  • Paper cups are not recyclable because of the plastic liner and coffee contamination. 
  • Garbage haulers do not accept plastic lids in curbside recycling bins.
  • Cardboard sleeves can be recycled and reused, but often are not.   
  • The vast majority of disposable cups and lids sold at coffee shops eventually arrive at the landfill.  
  • Only 1-2% of Starbucks customers bring their own cup, even with a 10 cent discount incentive.3
  • Starbucks estimated the cost of disposable packaging (coffee cup, lid, and insulating sleeve) at 15 cents back in 2000.1

How big is this problem?

  • If an individual purchases a disposable cup every day, this creates about 23 pounds of waste per year.
  • According to a study by Starbucks, each paper cup manufactured is responsible for 0.24 pounds of CO2 emissions.1
  • Recycling Advocates estimates that 50 MILLION disposable coffee cups are used in the Metro area per year.  This equates to 3 MILLION pounds of solid waste being generated and 6,000 metric tons of CO2 being generated.  This is equivalent to almost 600,000 gallons of gas consumed, or 6 million pounds of coal burned for one year.2

Check out this infographic from eCO2greetings, comparing coffee cup usage to the Seattle Space Needle!

waste-mountain-of-coffee-cups

 

 

SHOW YOUR COMMITMENT! TAKE THE PLEDGE!

 

What can you do to help our campaign?

  • Volunteer to table at an event, to educate consumers about the lack of recycling options, and the magnitude of the problem
  • Promote our campaign to your friends and family through social media using “#ChooseToReuse” or through word of mouth.
  • Encourage your local coffee shop to get involved with our campaign by incentivizing or encouraging their customers to avoid disposable coffee cups.
  • Bring your own cup, or use a reuseable mug in the store when you go to a coffee shop.

What are we encouraging coffee shops to do to support this campaign?

  • Offer an incentive for customers who bring their own reusable cup.
  • Offer reusable cups for dining in.
    • If reusable cups are available, ask customers if they want their coffee “for here or to go”
      • Use of reusables increased from an average of 18% to 57% during the pilot test when customers were asked this question.1
  • Place a reminder sign where customers order or near the entrance, to remind them to bring their reusable cup.
  • Sell reusable cups in your store, to make it easy for customers to obtain reusable cups if they don’t own one.
  • Provide educational materials and information about disposable cups to customers
    • Examples include table tents, email to newsletters, posts to social media, signs and posters on the wall, allow our handouts and materials to be displayed in the shop, etc.

 

Why don’t we focus on Starbucks, since they are so large?

Starbucks has actually done quite a few things to improve their impact on the environment. They offer in-store cups for use (when you ask), sell reusable cups, and offer a 10 cent discount when you bring your own. However, I think this statement from their website summarizes the need for individuals to drive this campaign through their behavior change.

We will continue to explore new ways to reduce our cup waste but ultimately it will be our customers who control whether or not we achieve continued growth in the number of beverages served in reusable cups. – Starbucks website

 

These coffee shops on the map support our campaign, please support their business! 

Contact us if you know of a coffee shop that is encouraging reusable cups and trying to reduce disposable options. If you are a coffee shop and want to get more involved, contact us to learn what you can do and how you can get featured on our site and with our members and volunteers.

Spotlight on BYOC Coffee Shop Campaign supporters

Please support these great businesses for helping us make a difference!

Help spread the word! Post signs at your work break areas and cafeterias

Campaign alignment with other larger initiatives

Related Articles and Websites

Alternative Options for Disposable Coffee Cups


A project to help eliminate paper cup waste in London – A new, chai wallah-inspired project, Cup Club, which aims to reduce the amount of waste caused by disposable coffee cups in London.


Turning powerful stats into art – Artist Chris Jordan shows us an arresting view of what Western culture looks like. His supersized images picture some almost unimaginable statistics — like the astonishing number of paper cups we use every single day.


The World’s First Plantable Coffee Cup

 

Do other cities have coffee cup recycling options?

+ Seattle

  • All food service businesses in Seattle using compostable or recyclable service products for food consumed on the premises are required to provide bins for proper collection of these materials.
  • Cedar Grove Commercially Acceptable Compostable Items – Coffee cups, sleeves and lids

+ San Francisco

 

1 http://business.edf.org/files/2014/03/starbucks-report-april2000.pdf

2 http://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

3 http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report 

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