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52 ways to save the planet: No. 1 : coffee

I have no idea if I can come up with 52 things to do to decrease the consumption of planets, and those global footprint calculators never work for me because they always demand to know how many miles you drive and never give the option "none" which means I'm sure they overcalculate how many planets I use by at least a sub-continent, but let's see what happens. (edit to add: oooh, that calculator does give a '0' option... which takes my result down to 2.7 planets) I have managed two things in two weeks though, so I'll make it a subset of the House Plan to try to make one small change every week. The problem is, I already do lots of things: I walk to work; I put out more recycling waste than landfill waste; I switch off lights when not using them; I use energy saving bulbs; I put on a sweater if it feels a bit nippy indoors (OK, that''s due to my central heating being crap); I never leave the TV on standby; I don't fill the kettle to the top if I'm just making a cup of tea; I use canvas shopping bags instead of taking the plastic ones the shops always offer*.../Eliza Doolittle voice/ I'm a good girl, I am. /'Liza/. So I need to come up with more things...

No. 1 : Coffee

I love coffee. No, I really, really love coffee.

I love coffee, I love tea.
I love the java jive an' it loves me.
Coffee and tea and the jivin' and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

I get my weekday fix from Espresso Mondo who I love not only because they serve great fairtrade coffee at very good prices but because I can arrive in the morning and just order "the usual". So in a theorectical world, in which I actually work at the office 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year, I use up 240 paper cups and plastic lids. The cups come from a sustainable forest but the plastic doesn't. And then the cup and top go into my office rubbish which is then carted away by the council and doubtless dumped in a landfill. And the council aren't using biodegradeable bags for that service.

Solution? A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!. I got an insulated travel mug from Adams Home Hardware for UKP2.75 (yep, still doing the shop local thing). Not only does that do away with the paper cups and plastic lids, I also get a discount on my coffee price of a morning so that I shall recoup the cost of the mug in, ooh, about three weeks. What I don't know is the cost in environmental terms of the manufacture of the mug but I would imagine that gets offset over the reduction in landfill waste pretty rapidly.

*I love the way some people just don't get the whole shopping bag thing. You say "I don't need a bag" and they are, like, "are you sure?" and I'm, like, "yeah, I have a bag" and they're like "you're sure?" and I'm like "yes" and hold the bag up so they can see it....
Oddly, the worst people for not believing you don't want a bag are little old dears running charity shops. You're a little old dear! You must remember rationing and saving bits of string and stuff! Why do you insist on thinking I need a whole seperate bag for one poxy paperback?

Posted @ 8:21 am on Monday, January 09, 2006
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