Apr 24, 2011

New World Habits: Disposable Cup Campaign

A post by Karin de Weille

What can we do to help the earth that requires no money, new infrastructure or technology, no legislation or political will, not even time (to speak of)?

I’ve been wondering, why not kick our disposable cup habit together and make an instantaneous, collective shift? Take three weeks. New World Habits has created a website and partnered with Sustainable Seattle and others--Zero Waste, Green Fest. Coffeehouses are also supportive, including Caffe Ladro, Grateful Bread, and Cafe Javasti. So a structure is in place, something to work with. But it’s continuing to evolve—the messaging, the posters, the outreach (getting individuals as well as coffeehouses on board--it's easy--a flier on the site is all you need to approach your own local shop/cafeteria/office). You can help grow this!

We’re launching the 3-week campaign soon--May 21 with GreenFest, so it’s time to spread this. A signup process is in place through The Point (see JOIN NOW on the site…)

Some stats… We Americans throw away almost half a million cups every 15 seconds. Last year, paper cup usage created close to 400 million pounds of solid waste, and that represents almost a third more than just 4 years earlier! When our addiction to throwing away spirals out of control, it’s not enough to compost or recycle. The rule is reduce first. The disposable consciousness has got to go. There’s a moving video on the site about this. Take a look. NewWorldHabits.org. On the facebook page Disposable Cup Campaign, you can join with others who want to contribute creative ideas and help shape the campaign.

Richard Conlin is a supporter, seeing this as a great opportunity for Seattle to do what it’s good at—test out something new that then spreads. So for those of you who are thinking you want to make this shift in your personal habits or would like to help grow the movement, this is a clear opportunity to explore the power of collective impact.

And if you're looking for last-minute (or belated) gift ideas for the Earth, just sign up now!

1 comment:

  1. As you begin this journey please take the time and energy to find out if this truly is a "green" effort.

    We may not be correct on the use of CFL vs traditional light bulbs. See http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_mercury where you will find that they say CFLs do result in less mercury in the environment. BUT keep in mind that they only account for 11% of the mercury in the CFL saying the other 89% is absorbed in the bulb. Does it stay absorbed?

    I think we have fooled ourselves into thinking that plastic water bottles are bad for the environment. A reused and recycled plastic water bottle has a far smaller carbon footprint then a reused and recycled glass or plastic one. There are lots of sources that explain this... And there are lots of sources that tell me I am wrong... you will have to decide for yourself. But if you decide that you are not going to use "single serve" plastic water bottles please make sure the alternative you buy is truly recyclable. Do you know what it takes (or if it is even possible) to recycle a aluminum/baked-enamel-lined container or a container with a combination of plastic/aluminum/rubber/and or stainless steel?

    And thus the same will be true for your alternative to paper cups...