How to Have a Truly Sustainable Cup of Coffee

KeepCup sustainable reusable coffee cupYou drink coffee. Tea. When it’s at home, it’s organic, and when you’re out, you do your best. In so many ways, you live a green lifestyle. And yet, there’s one sticky point: the cup.

You know about bringing your own mug, but it’s just so…clumsy. And it’s not the right size for the machines your barista uses, so they have to use a different cup when making it, defeating the purpose of you bringing a mug.

Yes, their cups are made from recycled paper, but they’re coated to make them waterproof, heat resistant, etc. Which means they aren’t getting recycled a second time. Compostable? Biodegradable? Possibly, but still, some materials had to be used to make that single use cup. Often more than twice the weight of the resulting cup. And for many, unless you have a professional grade facility at home, composting or biodegrading isn’t going to happen any time soon.

What to do? KeepCup has what may be just the thing:
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Cups made from #5 propylene. Translation: It’s recyclable. It’s shape mimics that of barista standard sizes, making for easy integration with their system. Yes it stands out, but soon enough you’ll have others following your lead, so the band on the middle has all the standard coffee/tea configurations written on it, so you can mark it to be certain which is yours. And apparently they can be customized with a company’s name/logo on it.

KeepCup doesn’t need to be treated gently, it’s machine washable and microwaveable, lending itself to be used for soup, for instance. They claim it’s unbreakable, a distinct advantage over the ceramic mug you may have been bringing from home, getting chipped and possibly broken in transport.

In a sustainable design touch others may not have thought of, The lid, seal, and cup band are all the same size, no matter what size KeepCup you get. This I imagine saves on energy use at the factory, as less lines of production are needed to make the KeepCup components.

All in all, one small step that, done en masse, could have a significant impact. My only qualm with this, being in the US, is the distance it would have to be shipped from it’s Australian point of creation. I’m betting this will find domestic producers soon enough though.

Readers: What other smartly designed products are you finding out there that address everyday activities?
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About the Author

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media. Who he has and wants to work with includes consumer, media, clean tech, NGOs, social ventures, and museums. For more on GreenSmith Consulting, see www.greensmithconsulting.com He also writes for Triple Pundit www.triplepundit.com