In an effort to reduce paper cup waste at the BRC Cafe and encourage a little local sustainability, we set a big bushel basket full of vintage ceramic cups on our counter and began giving customers a paperless cup option. We’d had enough and decided that clear-cutting forests and conscientious coffee just don’t jive with each other.
Unsurprisingly, our customers wasted zero time wrapping their heads and index fingers around our new cup-holder program. We did make it pretty hard to turn down–for $2.00 they get to choose one of two vintage ceramic cups filled with one of two delicious single origin, fresh-brewed hot coffees (or a cappuccino or an americano or a cortado made with one of our four current espresso blends). In just one day we’ve placed 200 cups. 50 walked back in the door for refills. We expect to cut our paper cup usage in half–savings almost 200,000 cups a year from becoming garbage.
In the same paper saving vein, we’ve also discontinued the use of cardboard boxes in our wholesale distribution division, replacing our stock 5 lb bag “mother cartons” with collapsable and reusable plastic crates. This means we rescue another 8,000 boxes worth of trees a year. Yup.
We made these decisions with stats like these in mind:
The United States produces 70% of the world’s solid waste;
80% of US products are used once and then thrown away;
New York City residents produce 12,000 tons of waste every day;
Exporting our garbage to other communities cost New York City taxpayers $290 million in 2007;
43% of dumped or burned municipal discards, by weight, consists of packaging and containers, or disposable products such as paper or plastic plates, cups;
Diesel trucks carry Manhattan’s garbage 7.8 million miles every year.
Give a hoot, don’t pollute!