A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Drinking habits

February 12, 2010
Emilie Phillips

At work, there is a coffee station with coffee, hot chocolate, tea, filtered water, and of course disposable cups. My habit had been to have a tumbler at my desk that I filled with water. And about once a week, I would bring it home to wash. So generally I was being resource conscious and not using the disposable cups. However, when I wanted a hot drink, I was stuck using a disposable cup.

Then this past week, work handed out some memorial mugs. I thought «great! Now I can stop using the cups.» So I had myself a nice cup of tea in my new mug. At the end of the day, I cleaned the residue out of the bottom of the mug and dried it out with the available paper towels.

Then it struck me that here I was using water and paper towels to clean the mug vs using one paper cup. It was not clear to me that I had actually decreased my environmental impact. I am now air drying, but still, the reusable mug is not as striking of a difference as I had expected.


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Comments (10)

  • Minimize trash

    Use the paper towel as a drying pad on your desk, leave the cup to dry upside down on the pad over night. The pad dries during the day and is ready for the cup the next night. Don’t over-do the daily cleaning. On Friday, bring the cup home, adding it to the dish-washer, and trash the well used paper pad.

    Once any item is manufactured, the biggest impact is to keep it out of the waste stream. At least you do not have marketing re-branding your company every two years, and demanding that everything with the old name disappears.

  • Since I only put plain tea (without milk or sugar) in my mug, I’ve gotten lazy and I only really clean it one a week. Or, um, two. My thinking is that the tea residue doesn’t taste bad and there probably aren’t a lot of bad germs that come from my mouth and grow on dry porcelain. But I make the tea with a French press, which needs rinsing every time I use it.

    I prefer tea with lots of milk and sugar, but I’ve decided it’s probably not good to marinate my teeth in sugar all day, and it’s inconvenient to keep milk around.

  • Why not just bring a washcloth or dishrag for mug drying? Here most places don’t even have paper towels available, bathroom or kitchen. Everyone brings their own small handkerchief or towel to dry their hands, and there are towels in the kitchen for drying things. Which get washed regularly, of course.