An Open Letter To The Coffee Bean About Reusable Mugs.

April 14, 2008

mug1.jpgI wrote about our new reusable mugs back in January and we have been using them without issue since then – it’s great to be able to walk into a coffee shop and hand them your own mug. However, just last week I was out and running some errands and I stopped at the local Coffee Bean to get nice mocha latte. I mentioned Coffee Bean supposedly going green last summer, but what happened on this visit blew my mind. I hand the woman behind the counter my mug, pay for my drink and head over to wait for it to be done. What did I see?

She was using a disposable cup to make and mix my drink in before pouring it into my reusable mug. And then she threw the paper cup in the trash.

How does this help at all? Me bringing my reusable mug does not actually save a cup from being throw away at all. I then told her that if she cannot make my drink right in my mug, that maybe it would be better to use one of their ceramic cups to make it in before pouring it in my own mug. She then proceeded to say “But then I would have to wash it” and I just walked out with my coffee – there was no arguing with this woman who obviously did not see the point of me bringing my own mug…even though I told her why I do it.

So, Coffee Bean head-honchos…could you please set in motion a plan to educate your baristas about why people bring in reusable mugs? As well as creating more trash, these one-time-use cups also cost you guys money…and I am sure you want to save money. I try to do my part by bringing in my own mug…I think it is a pretty small request to make it easy for your baristas to make me a drink without using a paper cup. Whadda ya think guys?

Green PolkaDot Box
Filed in: Responsible • Tags:

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (9)

  1. Lynnae says:

    Well that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Apparently they’re not so green after all.

  2. Jason says:

    I have to admit, I love Dunkin Donuts coffee. Many times when I bring my own cup with me they look at me like I’m crazy. “Sorry, we don’t offer refills.” I tell them that I just want to pay regular price (for less ounces, mind you) for coffee and for them to put it in my cup. “Sorry, we don’t offer refills.” or “Sorry, we don’t do that anymore.” I’m offer the words of wisdom about how it’s bad enough that they use styrofoam cups and I’m just trying to save a few of those from landfill. I get the feeling that I’m just an inconvenience. I emailed DD once – they are working on finding better cups, but haven’t found anything that will retain heat long enough to be a satisfactory product. I told them that at least that shitstore – Starbucks – has paper cups…

    -Jason
    http://www.screamtobegreen.com

  3. Crossroads says:

    I am in Shanghai, and have been having a bit of a mental ping pong match over this for a while. Where I work, there are 8 SBUX on the same street, and at one point I was able to train the staff in one to at least leave off the condom when I asked for the paper cup (I made it a point to use a ceramic when in the store).

    Where I get bothered though is not only is the coffee shop mindset defaulting to giving paper cups with plastic lids, it is that there is no recycling counter in place for customers to make sure the various pieces can be recycled.

    It is just pure waste. No 2 ways about it.

    R

  4. David says:

    @Crossroads – That is another pet peeve – they don’t have separate recycling bins, only trash cans. So silly.

  5. Chase says:

    If this happened to me, I think I’d be furious. I hope you go to the manager and explain to them what’s required of their employees for your continued business.

  6. David says:

    Oh I will Chase…and hopefully they will listen.

  7. Heather says:

    This happened to me also – at my locally owned drive through coffee place. When I asked the barista about it, she really didn’t get it. She just kept saying, “I’m sorry, would you like me to remake it?” Like the problem was something with what she put in the cup, not that she wasted a paper cup for no reason! Finally I conveyed the issue and she said that because the size of coffee that I had ordered (12 oz.) was less than what my cup holds (16 oz.) she didn’t know how much to add without the paper cup. Hmmm…. not sure that I buy it. Eyeball it, for pete’s sake!

  8. David says:

    It does seem that the USA LOVES to fill up the trash cans outside coffee shops. Even the people drinking the coffee in the store get them in paper cups – so strange and wasteful!

  9. Kate says:

    I am in Australia where every coffee shop I go into still serves coffee in a china cup or mug! I never need to buy a take-away but there are a few places that do it and they use those wrinkly cardborad cups. My son has just returned from Europe where coffee is ALWAYS served in china and you can’t even buy a take-away coffee (at not in the countries he visited). People sit and enjoy coffee and food, in Europe and mostly, here too. He said the USA was the only place where he has travelled from top to bottom and not been able to get a decent coffee so why bother??