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Greening the coffee world

December 14, 2009

In order to be accepted into a Stanford Design School course last year I had to find a solution to disposable cups being used at Moonbean’s, the campus coffee shop; here’s what I came up with:

I’m not the first one to realize that the amount of single-use cups going to landfills is staggering. Chris Jordan has called attention to this in his remarkable rendering of how many cups are used on U.S. airlines every 6 hours (answer: 1 million). Starbucks has even admitted that if 50 customers at each location used reusable mugs, we would save 150,000 cups per day, reducing waste by 1.7 million pounds of paper per year.

The Beta Cup Fonder Toby Daniels says no to disposable cups

Toby Daniels has a bigger take on the design school application process–get people to tackle the same problem but on a global scale, then pay the winner and help bring the final product or concept to market. Through The Beta Cup he’s looking for the next big idea to solve this problem and is awarding $20,000 to the successful designer.

Green Cafe Network Founder Kirstin Henninger with Krystin Rubin, Co-owner of Mission Pie Cafe in San Francisco

I had a chance to catch up with Daniels a few weeks ago during a phone conversation where he spoke from his home in New York. Daniels said he used to be one of the worst offenders of disposable coffee cups and that they literally started piling up around him. The guilt plagued him and he thought if we’re all part of the problem then we can all be part of the solution.

And through the Beta Cup blog I discovered another cool cafe endeavor right in my own backyard–the Green Cafe Network.  Founder Kirstin Henninger helps small coffee shops “go green” by reducing their waste (water waste, wasted electricity, wasted coffee cups). Next year she’s hoping to go national. Check out the podcast I produced to hear from the founders themselves.

»Listen Here

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 19, 2010 1:50 am

    Is it not perfectly possible to recycle all paper cup waste now? Due to the PE / wax coating it is simply a matter of correctly sorting the waste surely?

    Robert Daniel
    Paper Cups

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