Wow, it really really feels like you don't like disposable coffee cups!
In the past couple of weeks I have been getting an avalanche of questions about the infamous Nescafé booth which was on campus during the month of September.
I guess the whole story goes something like this.
- Nescafé is invited by Community Life on campus for an event last year... Things go so well they are invited back for Welcome Week this year.
- Nescafé hands out heaping cups of coffee to anyone who stops by their booth.
- Things are going well again until... an infographic comes out announcing how many cups of coffee were handed out over the month.
- There is a flood of comments on a Facebook post about the coffee being handed out.
- The post is taken down and Coffegedgon begins...
I am personally not angry at Community Life or Nescafé for the whole thing... why would I be? This is just the logical extension of what society has been doing for decades... increasing convinience to the detriment of the environment. One could argue that Nescafé, who weren't even the only big company handing out free coffee this semester, is no more at fault than every person that did not bring their own reusable mug.
Muggy Mondays is one of those incentive based programs... bring a mug and good things happen. I like incentives as a model for change. Not just because negativity turns a lot of people off, but because I think that we could all use things that encourage us rather than discourage us.
But maybe these incentives are good enough... I mean there are still hundreds of people using disposable coffee cups every day on campus. Would more of a savings make a difference? Maybe just maybe more promotion would do the trick?
Create a cup tax
Study after study talks about how people hate taxes more than they hate almost anything else. So instead of more incentives, what about doing something that motivates people more vicerally?
Now I don't like using negative sentiment to drive action but I am not above getting results either. So imagine this, instead of giving you a discount for bringing a reusable mug, how about you just pay less for coffee all the time, but the catch is that disposable cups cost 20 or 25 cents?
The whole idea is that you get so angered by the idea of a tax that you change your behaviour. The tricky part is to not create apathy about your ability to make personal change without having to have a tax or some kind of intervention to make all the decisions for you.
On the other hand, maybe having a campus that doesn't have any disposable coffee cups could be a way of showing everyone that another way is possible. Maybe just the idea of knowing that alternatives do exist and they aren't overly cumbersome is what people need to see.
So what do you think? Is a disposable coffee cup free campus a real possibility? Send me your ideas and let's see what we can make happen.
In the mean time, don't forget to lug your mug!