A cup of joe on-the-go may seem like a convenient choice when we’re strapped for time, but the consequences of our disposable habit are pretty shocking.

Take, for example, the coffee sleeve. We hardly think twice about grabbing one to slip around our beverages, some shops even pre-sleeve the cup for you! Yet it’s estimated that 14 billion cups of coffee are served every year with accompanying sleeves, which equals out to 2.8 billion pounds! To make matters worse, while most of us think that coffee cups are made of recyclable paper, the plastic and wax inner lining is actually not recyclable in most communities. In fact, only about 39 percent of Starbucks locations are equipped with the appropriate recycling bins that ensure their cups do not end up in landfills – they produce around four billion cups globally … every year. Oof!

Luckily, a New Zealand café has taken a stand against disposal cups. This step has the power to stop 1,000 cups heading to landfill each week! The café, Otago Polytechnic’s Eden Café in Dunedin, typically served about 190 takeaway cups a day. Now, that’s no longer an option. Instead, for customers wanting a takeaway option, the café is giving them a cup to stay, or serving it in old crockery from secondhand stores. In fact, the crockery costs as much as the takeaway cups – minus the environmental cost, of course!

The café has already seen a positive impact from this change. Polytechnic Functions and Catering Executive Chef Mark Lane said to Stuff, “We have gone through the rubbish bins around campus and they are virtually empty.”

This café proves that we can all live without disposable coffee cups. Plus, it’s more fun to sit down and talk with a friend and wrap your hands around a lovely ceramic mug!

While efforts are being made to remove debris from the oceans, improve recycling systems, and innovate barriers to prevent plastic from getting into waterways, we can all take action in our daily lives to stop plastic waste at the source.

If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way into landfills – and inevitably, oceans.

As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.

Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.


Image source: Jen Rodgers/Stuff.co.nz