Single-Use Cups Produce a Staggering Amount of Waste. It’s Time to Lug Your Mug.

The American coffee habit is a significant contributor to environmental waste, with over 47% of Americans buying coffee at least once per week and 16% more than four times per week. The majority of coffee shops serve coffee in disposable cups, resulting in an estimated 25 billion paper cups ending up in landfills each year. To address this issue, the Environmental Center at the University of Colorado Boulder has been running a “lug your mug” campaign urging students and staff to bring their own mug to school.

By bringing their own mug, individuals can initiate meaningful change within coffee shop culture, as markets respond to customer preferences. Companies that align with customer interests are often more successful, and coffee shops will adjust to support their waste-conscious customers if enough people choose to reuse.

Bringing your own coffee mug also allows you to connect with people who advocate for a healthier planet, creating an opportunity to initiate conversations and drop some sustainable-choice wisdom. Additionally, using your own mug can guarantee your coffee will taste better from a deeply personal vessel.

Using your own mug is also better for the environment, as many coffee shops offer discounts for bringing your own mug from home. For example, Trident Coffee Shop in Boulder takes 25 cents off your purchase when you bring your own mug.

While there may be concerns about inconvenience to customers, bringing your own mug may be easier than you thought it would be. If you get coffee every day and bring your mug once a week, that’s still 52 cups diverting from the landfill each year. By committing to making the coffee cup change, you can contribute to positive environmental change, improve your coffee experience, and save money while doing so. By reshaping our culture, we can help shape a better, less wasteful future for all.

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