Image credit:

Guilt To Go

How come your bed is suddenly ten times comfier when you wake up, than it was when you went to sleep? And why is there a snooze button on my alarm?! — If you are like me, your mornings are not as serene, calm and relaxed as some influencers and advertisements make it seem.

So, I’ve already given up my relaxing bath and healthy breakfast pancakes, I can handle that, but my coffee is sacred and that is why my best friend on a cold, early and, due to my poor time management skills, rushed Monday morning is Céline.

Céline is the barista at Ethical Bean Coffee, the coffee store that is conveniently located on my way to work. Céline makes my mornings by providing me with the life-saving, morning-making, black coffee in a convenient, pretty looking To Go cup. Now walking to work a little more enthusiastically, I occasionally take a sip of my steaming hot coffee — Fairtrade, of course.

As I am walking through the busy streets with my hair in a messy bun on top of my head, my Lab coat hanging out of my Fjällräven rucksack and my cup of coffee in my hand I am feeling as ready as one can be for a long day of research at University.

But the stone hard, depressing reality hits you once you finished your Superdark French Roast coffee and you go to the bin to throw away that To Go cup which only two minutes ago made you feel so good. Unfortunately, that positive feeling vanishes within a second when the numbers you once read in an article by The Guardian — only 1% of the 2.5 Billion coffee cups that get thrown away by Brits each year are being recycled— flood back to you, and the guilt washes over you.

Luckily, there are people like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who are trying solve this problem. In Episode three of his BBC1 Documentary Hugh’s War on Waste: The Battle Continues he takes on big coffee shop companies like Starbucks to raise awareness about the immense waste problem they are causing. With his documentary Hugh is taking the first step in the right direction, because as we all know: a fault confessed is half redressed.

And not only people, but entire cities are starting to take action: Hamburg, a beautiful city in the North of Germany, is a perfect example. Hamburg has already banned To Go cups from governmental buildings, and is now testing a new system called “Refill it!”: People can go to their favourite café as usual and order a drink of their choice. The difference is that customers now pay 1,50€ (1,63$) as deposit on their To Go cup. When they have finished their beverage they can either refill it with another one, or bring it back to one of the 11 participating cafés to get back their 1,50€. At the café the cup is thoroughly cleaned and then reused. It gets even better: the cups are made of Lignin and are therefore completely biodegradable. And, in case you are a bit fussy like me you can purchase your own reusable lid for the To Go cup so you don’t even have to worry about who drank from it before.

When other cities start following the example of Hamburg, and more people become aware of the problem and make use of this concept, we will lift some weight off the Earth’s shoulders, literally– and your coffee induced enthusiasm won’t get ruined by feelings of guilt.

(By the way, you will feel just as fantastic, if not better with the reusable To Go cup in your hand- I promise.)