The minefield of the reusable cup

September is the back to work/school/routine type of month.  It feels very much like a new year and as such the chance to start making some new resolutions. However instead of a new pencil case, I’m thinking maybe a nice new keep cup (any brand!).  But – and here’s the thing – I have had a reusable cup for over a year and I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit to hardly ever using it. But I suspected I wasn’t alone, so I did a straw poll with some friends (nothing remotely valid, just to be clear).

Most did have a reusable cup, and some had more than one.  They were mostly used for car journeys, taking coffee from home to car, or for the office.  Most forget to take their cup with them when they went out, and this made some feel more guilty because they had both a reusable cup and still used disposable (the double whammy of consumerism).

Apart from forgetfulness, other reasons for leaving the cup at home included extra weight and bulk when they were already carrying tons of luggage or work stuff and not having room in their bag when out and about at the weekend.  My main issue is what to do with the slops left in the bottom of the cup (I always seem to end up with at least an inch of cold coffee in the bottom of my cup) and nowhere to rinse it on the 7.59 to Waterloo (and I’m not battling for the loo just to swill out a cup – I’m just not).

All of the above are of course excuses, the new year resolutions that go pear shaped.  We need help and encouragement to ingrain a habit, remember to take the cup, get over the pitfalls.   If disposable cups were banned tomorrow, I expect that would help tremendously to stick to the cup resolution – imagine you couldn’t get a coffee anywhere unless you had your own cup.

Behavioural change is hard, even where there is a really really good and necessary cause, and that is understating completely what we all need to do to save the planet, it’s still difficult to adhere to, to remember the cup, find somewhere to swill it out, do the right thing.

And there is it – a minefield of emotions surrounding a cup.  Who would have thought it – that a cup could become a symbol of our environment, of activism, of complacency, of guilt, shame and new resolutions.

Image: Tania Miron – Unsplash