#TakeawayThrowaways

I love coffee as much as the next person, or more. Probably more. But I hate the idea of single-use disposable takeaway cups and lids. It’s not the ‘takeaway’ I don’t like, but the ‘throwaway’, which is why #TakeawayThrowaways makes so much sense to me. More on that later.

Loving coffee, and hating disposable cups, I’m usually pretty good about having my KeepCup with me, even on flights, but sometimes I’m not that organised. Up until recently I’ve just done my best and given-in to a guilt-laden throwaway every now and then. I do a lot to reduce my environmental footprint. How much damage can one disposable cup do, right? I’ve been letting myself get away with it, but it doesn’t sit right. So, I’ve adopted a new approach.

This new approach came about after a piece of self-awareness dawned on me recently. It turns out I’m the type of person for whom 100% commitment is easier than 95%. For example, cutting back on carbs and junkfood treats was never going to work for me as a way to shed some kgs. Eliminating them, I found easy. Having made a decision that I don’t eat bread, pasta, biscuits and pies anymore, I find it easy to stick to. People tell me they admire my will-power. I disagree – I think my will-power sucks. If I gave myself a choice every time I was presented with a peanut-butter sandwich (my kryptonite) whether this was a 95%-of-the-time ‘no’ or a 5%-allow-myself-a-treat ‘ok’ I’d still be an unhealthy weight. It’s easier for me, and requires no will-power, just to say ‘I don’t eat that’ anymore.

(Having slight masochistic tendencies, I do allow myself a single potato chip every now and then, just to test myself, but that’s a different story.)

So for me – my strategy to deal with disposable coffee cups is simple. I don’t. 100% commitment.

I try to have a KeepCup with me, in my backpack, a spare in the car, one at the office etc. However, if I don’t have one with me – simple – either (1) I don’t have a coffee, or (2) I make the time to sit and have one in a reusable cup provided by the cafe.

In option (1) situations, I’ve learned that I don’t do without coffee for long, a coffee isn’t too far away in some other situation, and – surprise, surprise – I don’t expire in the meantime. It probably means I didn’t really ‘need‘ a coffee anyway.

Option (2) situations kick in when I really do want a coffee and I’ve found that taking the extra few minutes to sit and appreciate my espresso is generally a better and more enjoyable caffeinated experience than gulping on the run.

(As an aside, when did coffee become so big in our lives that this is even a discussion?)

A whole new crop of options seem to be popping up too, with cafes taking the initiative themselves, or as part of different schemes designed to replace disposable cups with reusable, use-and-return cups. Check out againagain.co and cupcycling.nz

So back to #TakeawayThrowaways – this is a petition calling on the New Zealand government to ban single-use disposable food and drink serviceware containing plastic. Check out it out at TakeawayThrowaways.nz

Taking away the throwaway option altogether would make it even easier for us all to make the right decision for the planet.

One thing I like about the petition is that it doesn’t only consider a ban, but also what the alternatives might look like, and the existing legislative framework (s23 Waste Minimisation Act 2008) to make it happen. It’s not about taking away our takeaways, but taking away the throwaways.

Check it out – sign it if you support it.

This won’t be the end of takeaway coffees. Just like the ban on single use plastic bags led to a change in behaviour – we don’t think anything of carrying reusable shopping bags into the supermarket anymore – new ways of drinking coffee on the run will emerge. Our apparent addiction to coffee pretty much guarantees it!

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