What is the “Sustainability is Super” Project?
The Sustainability is Super Project is a collection of students from the University of Washington determined to reduce consumer waste, CO2 emissions, and the use of natural resources on campus and throughout Seattle. Specifically, the objective of the project is to motivate students and coffee drinkers to bring their own coffee mugs from home, instead of using disposable paper cups.
Coffee Cups? Really??
Unbeknownst to many, paper coffee cups are extremely wasteful!!!! Because of FDA standards, most cups cannot be made out of recycled paper. Even worse, wax and other non-paper materials in cups prevent them from being recycled after their use. 5000 cups are thrown away at the UW campus EVERY DAY!
But bringing my own cup sounds like a pain.
We realize that bringing a cup can take up a little extra space in your backpack. To make the task more worth your effort, many coffee houses offer a discount to customers who bring their own mug. Imagine saving 25 cents on every cup of coffee you drink. Considering how much coffee is consumed by an average java drinker, this adds up to a lot of savings. The discount also works in favor for local businesses, as the cost of paper cups decreases.
So what is the Sustainability is Super Project doing to help?
Most people simply don't know how much waste their coffee consumption produces. Our group is responsible for educational posters and brochures around campus and throughout Seattle coffee stands. Media coverage through the Seattle Times, Grist Environmental News, and the support of Al Gore has helped spread the message even more quickly.
What a great idea! How can I help?
If you want to help, start drinking out of a travel mug. You can also tell your friends and family. The “Sustainability is Super” group hopes to launch a web-directory which catalogs coffee houses that support sustainable practices and offer discounts for customers who use their own mug. Coffee houses will be identifiable through a sticker by the cash register or a decal on the window. And of course, keep an eye out for “sustainability is super” T-shirts and bumper stickers throughout Seattle.
As more and more people use sustainable cups, fewer trees will be cut down and CO2 levels from cup manufacturing facilities will drop.