Yeah I know- cheesy title, but hear me out for a second.  Like most of us, you probably have a cupboard full of reusable cups, mugs and water bottles- nice ones with lids, reusable straws and maybe even handles.  They seem to accumulate over time.  You might even take one of these cups or mugs to work with you every morning, full of whatever beverage gets you in gear for the day.  

But for a lot of us- the cup stops here.  They go from home to work and back every day, and that’s it.  Don’t get me wrong- that’s not bad- it’s actually good! But, what if we did better?

What if we took our cup with us to other places? Like Starbucks? Like restaurants when we order to go.  Like convenience stores when we head in for a soda. 

What if we had a cup or two in our car all the time? Inseparable from us like Linus and his blanket, or a Jedi and their lightsaber?

What would happen is that we would eliminate a lot of the single-use plastic cups and bottles we deal with each week.  Sure, some of those things get recycled, but not using the stuff in the first place is much better than recycling.  We’d also be able to justify the collection of cups many of us have anyway, by putting more of them to good use.

This video is a great, funny explanation of why we need to move away from single-use plastic cups. It is a commercial for a specific product, but don’t let that stop you from watching it- it’s good!

It’s easy enough to do.  The trick, like with any new habit, is just to stay consistent with the effort until the new habit forms, and you can’t imagine how you ever survived doing things the old way.

For best results, there is a small amount of prep to be done, but it’s easy.  Here goes:

1.  Choose 2 cups you already have in your cupboard, or buy 2 new ones if needed.

– Some people don’t like the taste coffee can leave in a cup, so I recommend using one cup just for coffee, if you’re a drinker, and the other cup for everything else.

2.  Find out how much liquid each cup holds.

-this is usually printed somewhere on the cup, often on the bottom. If you’re buying new cups, it should be on the package or web info.

3.  Put the cups someplace where you’ll notice them, 

– Out of sight really can be out of mind, so find a good spot for the cups.  Maybe right beside the coffee maker or beside the sink.  You could even put the empty cups in the fridge if that’s where you need to see them at fill-up time.

4.  Foolproof the plan by putting a spare cup or 2 in you car.

– Got several cars at your house?  Cup ’em all!

5.   Use your reusable cup whenever possible whether buying a drink or using the water fountain.  And, don’t forget to wash them every once in a while!

That’s really all there is to it.  Most places are used to people using their own cups, and although they may give you a questioning glance at first, they should relax once you tell them how many ounces the cup holds and you show that you’re a responsible customer.

Reducing or eliminating single use plastic will go a long way towards improving our environment.  Humans have lived for thousands of years without them, and we can do so again.  We just need to take second and figure out how.

Happy Drinking!

RebEarth is a regularly appearing feature of Five O’Clock Shadow and features sustainable living tips. 

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