Big Issues

Is Your KeepCup Really Making A Difference?

More than just the discounts.

With 500 billion disposable coffee cups being manufactured worldwide, it’s no wonder good hearted people everywhere are picking up a reusable coffee cup. I, for one, will do whatever I can to stop the earth from becoming a boiling garbage heap within my lifetime. I’m also all about those ‘bring your own cup’ discounts. Naysayers, however, seem to be pretty damn adamant that it’s all a farce.

In my experience, whenever I pull out a reusable cup there’s always that one person showing off how smart they think they are by dropping phrases like “energy input analysis” and “megajoules required”. It’s as if they’re trying to convince you that as a KeepCup user/reusable shopping bag owner/person who gives a shit about the environment, you’re actually doing more harm than good.

It’s All About How Much You Use It

Here’s the thought process – the amount of energy used to make a reusable product is almost always higher than the amount used to make the disposable alternative, which means each reusable product needs to be used a certain amount of times to justify its superiority to a disposable product. If you don’t use the cup enough times to offset the energy use, you’ve just purchased a piece of landfill.

I know, it sounds bleak – but it’s really not. The amount of times you need to use these items to offset the energy use is actually super low. For a reusable cup, it’s about 15, and for one of those green shopping bags from the supermarket you only need to use it 8 times. Use each of them 100 times and the carbon footprint is miniscule. Totally doable! 

But We Can’t Stop There

So yes, your KeepCup is making a small dent as long as you use it more than 15 times – and props to you for being proactive! That said, the smug, anti-KeepCup narcissist kind of has a point. Landfill is actually way less of an environmental concern at the moment than the imminent threat of climate change, so if you can, don’t stop at a KeepCup.

Write to your representatives requesting better climate policy, email companies to show consumer interest in sustainability programs, reduce your energy consumption or ditch online shopping and go to an op shop instead.

In the meantime, keep taking advantage of those KeepCup discounts.

(Lead image: KeepCup/Facebook)