The Caveats of Eco-Living and Starbucks

I have been trying to reduce the amount of garbage I produce lately. I’ve been aware of this for some time, but it’s only recently that I’ve been making an extra effort. It’s a sad fact that I should call it eco-living when it’s merely common sense. Why fill the world with garbage when I can instead use reusable things, reusable bags, mugs, etc.? We may call it eco-friendliness today, but this is something my grandparents’ generation grew up with as the status quo.

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Anyway, as I try, I also run into obstacles and I wanted to share one that might be common to many coffee addicts like me. :p

I drink coffee every day. I could probably, according to some diagnostic chart or other, qualify as a coffee addict. If I haven’t had my fix by 10:00 a.m. things are looking blue, and by 1:00 p.m. I start to wonder if I’m getting the flu. I also have no way of making coffee at home, having broken my water heater months ago and realized the Starbucks located in the basement of my building does a much better job than I ever could for about $2 a morning.

I go to Starbucks every day. So I began taking my own reusable, portable mug and things were great until two weeks ago I visited my mom and forgot to bring back my coffee mug. The last two weeks have been a wretched struggle of guilt and existential questions (should I quit drinking coffee until I get it back???)

In the end, I drank guiltily and even resorted to the strange onetime occurrence of washing my disposable paper coffee cup and lid and taking it back to the store for a new coffee the next day (nobody blinked an eye…) and also avoiding using the plastic lid (the rest is recyclable, right?). But try as I did, I didn’t actually give up my brown sludge.

Anyway… What struggles have you come up with while trying to “green” your life? I’m also happy to report that I am visiting Mother for dinner tonight and will be getting not only my mug, but my running shoes and my hiking boots back (all relics of the last visit).

This experience has taught me almost nothing, I guess. It’s tough to be good, and you have to set yourself up for it. I think I already knew this. Not sure what I could have done differently… Maybe a concerted effort to only use one paper cup every three days (by washing them) or taken my own ceramic, non-portable mug to Starbucks. I just don’t know that I’m ready to be that weirdo… Also seems impractical since I walk after getting my coffee. I could have gotten up earlier and drunk it at the shop in that case, I guess.

The rewashing of the cups seems like the best option. I guess I didn’t accept the situation quickly enough to come up with such a plan, but went about it planning to not drink coffee each day—and failing every day. I could have made a plan quicker if I’d accepted I’d be on my habit regardless.

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