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Green Scene: Bring your own mug, save more than your wallet

by Andrew Hockenberry, Geoscience Major and Sodexo Sustainability Intern last modified Feb 27, 2014 11:11 AM

Staying warm this winter has been quite the challenge. With temperatures in the single digits it’s hard to get the motivation to get out of bed which makes that morning cup of coffee all the more crucial. But purchasing a daily cup of coffee can get pretty expensive for both you and the planet.

Green Scene: Bring your own mug, save more than your wallet

Student employee Taylor Buckler pours coffee at Tulip Tree Café in Ekstrom Library.

Coffee businesses and producers have been scrutinized in the past for their unfair labor practices and non-sustainable management. As light has been shed on this, more and more coffee drinkers are demanding Fair Trade certified coffee in their favorite coffee shops and on college campuses. The University of Louisville’s food and beverage management company, Sodexo, has listened to the students and faculty on campus and currently serves fair trade coffee at all of their locations. At the Tulip Tree Café in Ekstrom Library, Sodexo supports the local champion of Fair Trade and organic coffee and proudly serves Heine Brothers Coffee.

Now, imagine drinking a cup of coffee at the Tulip Tree Café every morning for the entire semester.  With snow days included, that daily cup of coffee at $2.39 (price of medium coffee of the day, with tax) through the course of the semester would end up costing you $174.47.  That number, however, only represents the out of pocket cost to you. What that number leaves out, and what leaves your mind as soon as the empty coffee cup hits the trash can, is the amount of waste that is generated. In just one semester of coffee cups and lids you could generate close to two and a half cubic feet of waste. That may not sound like too much but this is a student body of 22 thousand and close to 7 thousand faculty members. If everyone drank coffee the waste would take up about 20 regular sized semi truck trailer loads!

So what can you do when you need that cup of coffee in the morning but you don’t want to feel guilty or break the bank? Bring your own mug to any campus location. Not only are you eliminating the waste but Sodexo is offering you a financial incentive to do so. Bring your own mug and pay only the refill price of $1.10 (with tax). That daily cup of coffee comes down from $174.47 per semester to $80.30, saving you a total of $94.17 in just one semester! So remember this semester to save money and prevent waste: Start your mornings off in the sustainable way with a warm cup of Fair Trade coffee in your own mug.

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