Coffee Cup Confessions
I have a confession to make. I became a coffee drinker a few years ago, after my kids were born and I couldn’t string together full sentences after a short night. Coffee quickly became a necessity in an attempt to reverse the blinding affects of full time work and new parenthood. Despite the fact that I spend my professional time carefully telling the story of a company committed to environmental stewardship, I couldn’t make a simple transition in my personal life: I was using a paper coffee cup almost every morning.
Now, there are practical reasons, of course. I needed the coffee on the way in to the building (because I was a harried mess having just dropped off the kids and probably wasn’t early for anything) so couldn’t go to my office for the ceramic cup (a drawer full of them!). And the Gorge (Timberland’s outdoorsy-named company cafeteria) provided a reusable mug, but it was smaller than the paper cup – and lacked a top. I did try. On several occasions I’d announce, “This is the day I’m going green, all the way”! (Lest you think me a complete slacker, I recycle everything, use organic lawn care, am a member of a CSA, etc.). But I’d have a shot of coffee left by the time I made it up the stairs to my office, clearly undermining the purpose of getting the caffeine in the first place. Never mind that I’d use 10 paper napkins to clean up my spills along the way….
I’ve tried the traditional travel mug – the one that always seems to smell like old coffee and has that plastic flip top thing that always drips or drops on my nose. And, I’m not actually traveling anywhere so I don’t need it to be so … well … durable and plastic feeling.
I’ve intentionally left this daily paper cup outside of meeting rooms if I knew I’d be in the company of one of our more vocal environmental champions (our CEO banned bottled water here, so picture how he’d react if he saw the paper cup covered with that paper sleeve that keeps your hand from burning; he’s a madman and he probably signs my checks!). So clearly, I understand I’m making a bad choice … but I keep on doing it anyway.
What is it about human beings that allows us to continue to do something we feel guilty about? In this case, could it be as simple as I didn’t like the way the other cups looked or felt? I’m lazy?
It seemed a no-win — until now. I’m in love. I was in Walgreen’s looking for holiday decorations when I came across a ceramic cup with a rubber lid. It looks just like its paper peers! It’s got some heft to it, is dishwasher safe, and isn’t so big that it looks like one of those Big Gulp things from 7-Eleven or a child’s sippy cup. It’s possible that I’m arriving late to this game and everyone has already discovered this amazing invention, but I’m not shopping for holiday garland that often, so it’s new to me. Did I mention that it was less than $10?
Bottom line, I guess, is that most people are doing the best they can – little by little. We make baby steps every day and I don’t think we should feel guilty for that (but I know I should have gotten to this cup thing much sooner). We should feel good about the changes we do make, and some of them are darn big. Imagine if someone reads this and stops using a paper cup every day. If you’re that person, let me know and I’ll buy you one of these great cups.
More confessions coming soon….