I am Not a Paper Cup vs. the ubiquitous To-Go Cup (Symbol of our Everyday Throwaway Culture).

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jul 22, 2008
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The gods must be crazy. Every morning, thousands of good upstanding Americans get coffee to-go, slurping as they walk/blackberry/talk/subway/bus/drive etc. Every afternoon, coffee addicts like myself do it again.

It’s not only eco, it’s Buddhist (you know, all that stuff about the ‘present moment’) to chill the eff out. Sit down, enjoy your cuppa joe for-here, and save some tree and all the gas and shipping that went into each cup’s journey: milled, shipped, made into a cup and printed upon and reshipped…not to mention the 99% unrecycled never biodegrading plastic lids. Or, if you want to offend hippie Buddhists and yet still have a clean conscience, you could buy this. Or, you could bring your own, as my friend Carrie does.

With thanks to Kelly Mikler of Sole Technology for the tip (Kelly was, in turn, inspired to mention the I Am Not A Paper Cup by Graham Hill of Treehugger’s rival eco-arch mug, the famous We Are Happy to Serve You). 


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


4 Responses to “I am Not a Paper Cup vs. the ubiquitous To-Go Cup (Symbol of our Everyday Throwaway Culture).”

  1. m6 says:

    I’m wondering when the carbon foot prints cross paths between the embodied energies between the two cups, paper and ceramic. Obviously each has embodied energies how may re-uses of the ceramic cup will it take to be ahead. Isn’t that what we stirve for? Becomeing ahead of something in our lives?


  2. Heather says:

    It’s been a while since I travelled, but I have one distinct memory of asking for coffee to go at a cafe in Italy, back when I was in high school. The Italian barista looked at me with mixed humor and disdain (and plentiful hand gestures) and asked, “Why don’t you want to sit here and drink your coffee? Where do have to go?” To this particular man, it was almost an insult that I didn’t want to sit down, relax and enjoy his fine coffee in-house.

    Another thought about international to-go ware: In India, many chai stands serve their drinks in little clay cups. When customers finish, they simple discard the biodegradable cups onto a roadside compost heap. New cups are baked in the sun, requiring little manufacturing energy.

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