Letter: Waste free is the right choice | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Waste free is the right choice

There are many decisions we have to make when ordering a drink at our local coffee shop: Will it be a mocha, latte, chai or a standard cup of joe? Small, medium or large? Caramel or vanilla? Skim, soy or almond milk?

There is one easy decision for all coffee drinkers this week (and all weeks) and that is to put it in your reusable mug.

Monday through Friday is the fourth annual “Waste Free Roaring Fork Cup Challenge,” brought to you by the Community Office for Resource Efficiency and the city of Aspen.

Twelve coffee shops from Aspen to Carbondale are stepping up to reduce waste this week, and they can only win this challenge with your help. This year there’s a new twist — not only can you reduce your waste, but the coffee shop with the most customers who use reusable mugs will receive an energy and waste assessment, as well as $1,000 to implement the efficiency recommendations. So your efforts will help them reduce their energy and waste into the future!

What’s wrong with an innocent paper cup, you might ask? The process of manufacturing those cups requires resources such as trees, water and energy. Not only is manufacturing disposable cups resource-intensive, but most disposable cups are non-recyclable (due to the polystyrene lining) and they end up degrading in a landfill, emitting methane and contributing further to global climate change. A reusable cup once manufactured and used over and over will reduce the need for disposables and reduce the impact on the environment.

According to a study conducted by Starbucks and the Alliance for the Environmental Innovation, each paper cup is responsible for .24 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. By using a reusable mug in this week’s Cup Challenge, customers can reduce their carbon dioxide emissions 1.2 pounds over the five days.

For more waste-reducing ideas visit http://www.wastefreeroaringfork.com.


Mona Newton

Executive director, CORE