Recycling – Part III: My Coffee Addiction

I’ve spoken now about two things I plan to do to recycle more of what I use, but I still believe there is more that I can do. Sometimes I feel that so much of my waste is thrust upon me by those around me. Are there things that I just accept as commonplace and is there a better solution?

So I tried to think of the things that I currently use that are harmful to the environment. The big ticket items that I found were the following:

  • Plastic Cups and Straws
  • K-Cups
  • Batteries
  • Plastic Bags

In the next few recycling posts, I will outline how I plan to curb my use of those items and list some resources to help you out as well! Up first my coffee addiction.

Stop using plastic cups and straws

My second job is at Starbucks and the back seat of my car has a recycle bin overflowing with clear iced coffee cups and green straws.

First, yay recycle bin!

Second, there is a very easy solution to this problem. I should invest in several re-useable cups so that I don’t waste any more plastic cups. This is more affordable for me since my work carries a plethora of reusable cups and I can pay attention to sales. For those who don’t work at a beverage establishment, there are several great options on Amazon for hot beverages or water bottles.


There is, however, a more stressing aspect to this piece and that is the straw. Recently I watched a Buzzfeed video (warning: there is one sad and graphic part at the beginning) about how horrible straws are for the environment. The first thing I thought was, “I’m 30, why am I just hearing about this now?!?!”

While I was at work, I noticed that we also sold extra hard plastic straws that go with our tumblers. So I picked up a couple of packages, but even those are still made out of plastic and eventually, that will probably be an issue. So I continued to search.

It turns out that Friday, February 23rd was National Skip the Straw Day and in honor of that day, a friend of mine posted on Twitter about her really cool glass straw (Thanks, Joanna!) from Simply Straws. Going back and rewatching that Buzzfeed video, I realize that Simply Straws, is also the company that is interviewed by the reporter.

They offer durable glass straws, pouches for them (something that I am lacking right now), and cleaning instruments! I made my first purchase and I can see myself buying many more in the future!

For those of you that are on a budget that still want to make a difference, Amazon also has some more affordable options.

Let’s make everyday #SkipTheStrawDay!

Stop using K-Cups

I’m sure you can guess, since I work at Starbucks, but I love coffee. I have a cup every morning and my day seems empty when I got without one. To save some money and since I have access to a Keurig at both my house and my office, I would stock up on my favorite pods, chock full of caffeine. Well, it turns out those little k-cup pods, while they make me a bearable human being, they produce a lot of waste that is not easily recycled.

According to a New York Times article, “Placed end to end, the pods sold in a year would circle the globe roughly 10 times.” That is a lot of little plastic cups and foil bits. Now before you say it, “Danielle, why don’t you just go buy a coffee or make a pot of coffee at home?” Well, I’ll tell you. I drink 1 cup of coffee a day, maybe two if I’m really tired. Brewing a whole batch of coffee is a waste (let’s not even get started on coffee bean production and it affects on the environment) and also I am not a morning person. I barely have enough time to get out of bed and brush my teeth, never mind make a pot of coffee. To answer question number two, why don’t I stop and buy a coffee; Do you think I am made of money? Also around the prepared-for-you coffee, there are goodies you can eat, and I need to avoid those. I struggle with a lack of self-control.

So back to the issue at hand. I don’t want to buy made-for-me coffee, I don’t want to use k-cups, and I don’t want to brew a whole pot of coffee for just one cup. So what do I do? Wake up early and drink an entire pot of coffee? I don’t think my doctor will approve.

I have found two solutions, one for hot coffee when I was in the office kitchen and the second for iced coffee while on twitter.

  • Invest in a My K-Cup and buy freshly ground coffee.
  • Buy more freshly ground coffee and make my own cold brew

Kcup to my kcup

Luckily for me, I was able to pillage around my parent’s kitchen and found an extra My K-Cup. When they weren’t looking I snuck it into my day job, so that I can stay caffeinated. It’s an extra step in making my coffee but there is less waste plus this way I can save the coffee ground and use them in the spring for a garden!

Part Two – Cold Brew.

I found this recipe for cold brew and a second recipe for sweet cream (I wasn’t a fan of this cold brew recipe) and I made some delicious iced coffee. I can garuntee you it was super easy and inexpensive.

So I would like to challenge all of you, I will be doing this myself, to try to not use straws for the month of April. If you do use a straw save it and see how many straws you use in a month. I think the number will surprise you. If you’re going to participate, please let me know. It can be a struggle but I think it’s something we can all learn to overcome.

Note: Links that appear in this post may earn me a small commission or products.

1 New York Times Article

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