business news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg has a story about the nascent anti-disposable coffee cup movement, which starts this way:

“The People’s Republic of Berkeley, Calif., takes pride in its leadership on all things civic and environmental. The small liberal city east of San Francisco was one of the first U.S. cities to adopt curbside recycling. It banned styrofoam and was early to take on plastic shopping bags. Earlier this year, the Berkeley city council put on notice a new environmental scourge: The to-go coffee cup.

“Some 40 million disposable cups get tossed in the city each year, according to the city council, almost one per resident per day. So in January, the city said it will require coffee shops to charge an extra 25-cents for customers who use a take-away cup.”

Berkeley, the story notes, isn’t alone: “Overwhelmed by trash, jurisdictions around the world are banning single-use plastic takeaway containers and cups. Europe says plastic beverage cups have to go by 2021. India wants them out by 2022. Taiwan set a deadline of 2030. Surcharges like Berkeley’s are likely to get more common in an attempt to quickly change consumer behavior before more outright bans.”

Of course, this trend creates enormous challenges from anybody who sells coffee-to-go, especially chains like Starbucks, Dunkin’ and McDonald’s.

You can read the entire piece here.
KC's View:
I thought this was interesting, especially in view of my own actions this weekend. I was driving up to Toronto for some meetings, and stopped several times along the way to get coffee. I went inside, bought coffee, then came outside and poured the coffee from the disposable cup into my MNB Yeti … and then threw the disposable cup away. That strikes me now as utterly wasteful … I should’ve brought the Yeti inside and saved just a little bit of paper, and if we as a culture can train ourselves to do that, the world will be a little bit better off.

It applies to straws. It applies to grocery bags. It applies to coffee cups. Just takes a little effort, and a little consciousness-raising.