new leaf

I finally succumbed to feelings of extreme guilt about my morning routine. Every day I take a bus to the Caltrain station, exiting one stop early to run into my favorite coffee shop. There I purchase a coffee, yogurt, sugar raised donut and banana. And every day I feel bad about.

Every time I reach for the tall stack of cardboard I think about how wasteful I am being with my paper cup purchase. While there is something rather wonderful about sipping coffee out of a cardboard container, (kind of like milk out of the carton – it just tastes better), it doesn’t cancel out the fact that I am being a poor steward of the environment. I think about it every time I bring the cup to my lips. Yet, it has taken me nearly six months to reach into my purse and throw down the $10 for a reusable mug. Until yesterday.

And it wasn’t because it was Earth Day. In truth, I didn’t even know it was until I read a Tweet about it in the afternoon. I just got to the point where I felt bad enough to invest the money and stick a note to the back of my phone reminding me to pick one up on the walk home.

Now, I admit, if I was really green I would have done some research about where the mug came from and the distance it traveled to sit on the shelf at Crate and Barrel. I would have investigated how it was made to determine whether the carbon footprint was greater or less than my disposable cups. I didn’t. I won’t pretend to be some raging environmentalist who chains herself to trees. I just walked into the nearest store that sold reusable mugs and purchased the pretty one.

The point is, today, at the coffee shop I pulled the silver mug out of my purse and filled up for the first time without guilt. My coffee tasted exactly the same – maybe even better without the backwash of remorse and splash of coffee on my chin. The best part is I learned I save five cents with every purchase. After doing the math – (on a piece of paper, see, again, not green) – I learned that I save $13 a year just by bringing my own container. Sure, this means I have to wash it every time, but it also means I have to stop and think about my actions and the impact they have on a daily basis. And that’s worth every penny.

2 thoughts on “new leaf

  1. Ok, I too have tremendous guilt about disposable paper cups…but you know what, coffee just taste better to me. I’m not sure why…maybe I just have weird taste buds that are super sensitive to metal but coffee in a paper cup just feels different. It tastes more rich, more syrupy. I actually almost prefer paper cups to ceramic…almost. On occasion I’ve actually used ceramic mugs as “travel” mugs, but that doesn’t really work out very well in the long term. What I really want is for someone to invent/create a travel mug that is ceramic on the inside, maybe with some sort of shock absorbing material to deal with the inevitable dropping…but that just seems ridiculous. So maybe I just need to buy some carbon credits to feel ok about my paper cup habit.

  2. Sasha,
    You bike enough that you can drink from paper cups – no carbon coupons necessary!

    You are totally right though. Coffee tastes wayyy better out of a paper cup. I think it has to do with the cream coating the sides and the smell being absorbed into the paper walls. I’ve slipped up a few times. I think the point is that I’m trying. Maybe I’ll just start biking more to make up for the difference.

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