Double, double... disaster

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

two disposable coffee cups added together equals environmental disaster

The inspiration for this blog came to me yesterday as a couple of students and I were discussing their Living Lab project during our weekly meetings. The group is working on figuring out the percentage of disposable vs reusable mugs used on campus.

The numbers aren't great and so group has been doing some discrete surveillance around the campus to see if the reusable mug use is on the rise. Spoiler alert... the numbers still don't look great. Somewhere in the realm of 5%.

A very interesting question was asked by one of the volunteers. He wanted to know if he had to count Tim Horton cups twice. I was a little perplexed..., "Why would you count them twice", I asked.
"Well" he responded, "everyone gets two cups instead one so that they don't burn their hands".

Sooooooooooooo, can you see the problem with this? Tim Horton is the only place I know of that has not embraced the little cardboard sleeve that all other coffee chains use on their coffee cups.
Our Free Store volunteer quickly chimed in that they stopped doing the double cupping at her Tim Horton. Great, but why are we still doing that here on campus?

We cling to the statistic that 7,000 disposable coffee cups are used on campus everyday. This number was calculated based on coffee sales on campus that did not claim a rebate for a reusable mug. But, if this number doesn't account for double cupping, that means the number of disposable cups on campus could be much higher that we ever expected.

Why Tim's? Why are you doing this?
Possible solution for students - score yourself a resuable mug; get some money back every time you buy a coffee; collect free coffee at Muggy Mondays.

~ jON - campus sustainability manager
photo credit - jonathan rausseo

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