Promoted Challenge!

321_bubbles Elizabeth Elephant suggested this challenge and received 15 votes before it was promoted.

Challenge Activity

These people have all recently accepted this challenge.

Default_user_small_avatar 09/19/14 Jackie Smith accepted this challenge, reducing CO2 by 0 lbs so far.
Default_user_small_avatar 09/19/14 Bonnie Hong accepted this challenge, reducing CO2 by 0 lbs so far.
Default_user_small_avatar 09/19/14 Regina Taupg accepted this challenge, reducing CO2 by 0 lbs so far.
Default_user_small_avatar 09/19/14 Setnne Tsai accepted this challenge, reducing CO2 by 0 lbs so far.
Default_user_small_avatar 09/19/14 Cheryl Vossmer accepted this challenge, reducing CO2 by 0 lbs so far.

De-cup Your Decaf Featured on Sep 13, 2012

Challenge

Are coffee shops part of your daily routine? If so, go one week without using any disposable coffee cups.

Individual Result

By using your own coffee cup, you will reduce your CO2 emissions by a total of 1.25 lbs this week.

Rally Impact

16554 people have reduced CO2 emissions by 8.58 tons by completing this challenge so far. That's equal to turning off the electricity of 7 homes for about 1 month!

Accept This Challenge »

Alternative content

Get Adobe Flash player

Challenge Details

You know what? Even the folks here at Rally Control have a hard time fighting climate change some mornings without a large cup of coffee. Some Mondays, we can’t tell our Challenges from our Results and can’t keep from tripping over our own carbon footprint without an extra large French Roast. And maybe a cruller. But now we’ve found a way to combine the two. (Coffee and reducing carbon emissions, not coffee and the cruller. That would be soggy.)

This Featured Challenge comes from the Challenge Workshop and is based on a suggestion made by Change for 2008. Thanks for the Challenge, Change for 2008!

The Carbon Connection
Americans love their coffee. By some estimates, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee every year. Of these, a staggering 14.4 billion are bought in disposable paper cups. Placed end-to-end, these cups would wrap around Earth 55 times and weigh around 900 million pounds.

Paper and cardboard make up over 40% of the solid waste buried in North American landfills. Of that 40%, a disproportionate amount is attributable to disposable coffee cups. Unlike newspaper and cardboard boxes, disposable paper cups are not recyclable. The thin lining that makes a paper cup waterproof also keeps it from being recycled. All of those cups end up in our nation’s landfills.

The manufacture of the coated paper stock used in making coffee cups requires energy. It also takes energy to manufacture cups from the paper stock. And then it takes more energy to transport the completed coffee cups from the factory to the coffee shops. All of that energy most likely comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere.

Getting It Done
Need help meeting this Challenge? Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Looking for an additional incentive? Many coffee shops and large chains offer a small discount on your cup of coffee if you bring your own reusable mug. The discount can vary from store to store, but we’ve seen discounts of anywhere from 5 to 30%. That works out to a savings of a dime to fifty cents on a $1.50 cup of coffee.
  • For some people, the hardest part about using reusable coffee mugs or tumblers is making sure to have them with you when you want to buy a cup of coffee. Routine is your friend. Always rinse out your travel mug at lunchtime, then you put it with your lunch bag to take home. If you stop and buy coffee while driving to work, make sure your travel mug gets back to the car at the end of each work day. That way it will be there then next morning when you need it again.
  • Unfortunately, the purchase of new reusable coffee tumblers has its own associated impact on climate. The production of plastic and steel and the manufacture of the tumblers themselves from plastic and steel all involve the release of CO2 into Earth’s atmosphere. It may take you a year and a half of using a new stainless-steel travel mug to really start saving carbon. So, when you take this Challenge, try to use a travel mug that you already own. If you own several, take your extras to work and offer them to co-workers.
  • If you don’t already have a reusable coffee mug and need to buy one, you won’t have trouble finding them. Travel tumblers are sold at large department stores, coffee shop chains, and online. Look for something you’ll be comfortable using for years to come.
  • There’s also a carbon impact to washing your reusable coffee mug. Heating water requires energy and that energy probably started somewhere with someone burning fossil fuels. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t wash your reusable mug! But maybe your daily routine could be to give your mug a quick rinse with cold water when you’re done with your coffee. Then give your mug a more thorough wash with warm water and soap every couple of weeks.

Can you think of other ways to make this Challenge fun and easy? What sorts of encouragement are you seeing for reusable mugs at your local coffee shops? Please share your stories and ideas in the Challenge forum section below.

Rules of the Challenge
This Challenge asks you to use 5 less disposable coffee cups each week. By switching to a reusable coffee mug and using 5 less disposable cups, you will reduce your CO2 emissions by 1.25 lbs per week. This Challenge lasts for one week and is repeatable.

Learn More
Sustainable Choices: Bring a Reusable Coffee Mug
ILEA Study: Energy associated with manufacturing and washing reusable mugs

See the Math
Here are our basic assumptions:

  • Based on an April 2000 Starbucks/Alliance for Environmental Innovation Joint Task Force report, we are assigning a CO2 savings of 0.25 lbs per medium-sized coffee cup. That includes both the CO2 released when fossil fuels are burned to create the energy needed to manufacture the paper in the coffee cup and then manufacture the coffee cup itself. It also includes the energy used to transport the cups from the factory to your local coffee shop.
  • If you’re like us and really enjoy your daily cup of coffee, it should be safe to assume you might buy one cup of coffee each day during the work week. Let’s call that 5 medium-sized cups of coffee per week.
  • Therefore, for each week that you don’t use 5 disposable coffee cups at 0.25 lbs of CO2-savings each, you will save 1.25 lbs of carbon dioxide.
  • Most likely, you normally get a cup of coffee with a plastic lid and/or a corrugated cardboard “hot sleeve.” The manufacture of those two things also contributes carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Our calculations do include the savings from using 5 fewer cardboard sleeves per week; they do not include using 5 fewer plastic lids.

Remember, it isn’t just you and your 5 cups a week. With over 14 billion cups of coffee being sold each year in disposable cups just in the United States, the potential carbon reduction from people making this little change in their lives is enormous. Think of this as a Challenge with an extra espresso shot. Buzz in, Rallyers!

Discussion 79 comments so far

You must login or register to post.

latisha about 20 hours ago
I have tumbler with me always.
WorldSeed 25 days ago
Using the challenge to not only keep the world healthy, but myself as well. I'm switching to Tea only this week! Keep it up guys
30342_chinese_tea
Macarenna3347c about 1 month ago
thank you
Eileen 5 months ago
This is an easy challenge, and better for your health by far to drink out of a reusable stainless steel or glass bottle than styrofoam.
Irmina88 6 months ago
Good with http://www.mkgroup-seo.net
rallyer153895 6 months ago
We can do our best by showering mother with presents that would make her realize how deeply we think of them and want to thank them for being an idol in our life. Send Flowers to India and show your intense love.
rallyer153893 6 months ago
The people of India have mind blowing opportunity to make stunning surprise to their loving mother. <a href="http://www.indiagiftsnetwork.com/product.php?cid=Send-Cake-India" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold" title="Send same day cakes to India">Send same day cakes to India</a> and pamper your dear mother. Your mother will be highly delighted after getting such a beautiful gift.
alexgill8960 about 1 year ago
I use cup for coffee not prefer disposal objects.
Shay over 1 year ago
Love my BU stainless steel reusable mug! Having it handy makes this challenge very easy to follow. #Thanks
jhu5 over 1 year ago
everyone starbucks now sells reusable venti sized cups! (or at least I think they're venti... they might be grande actually or in between) they're pretty sturdy, and I think you save 10 cents on each cup of coffee when you take it with you! I know it's a little difficult to remember, but if you drive just treat it like a water bottle, wash it every time you use it and keep it in your car! And if your purse is big enough, keep it in your purse!
manab almost 2 years ago
I am not an intensively addicted to coffe but whenever I drink I use disposable cup. I will implement this and also propagate the idea to my colleagues.
rallyer66861 almost 2 years ago
Hi, I am Vera! please how are you! hope you are fine Please kindly reply me at (vera_d1@ymil.com) hopeto hear from you soon,and I will be waiting for your mail because i have something VERY important to tell you. Lots of love
rhone almost 2 years ago
this a fun challenge. I've been using reusable coffee mug. So, this is easy challenge.
TicarmelC almost 2 years ago
online looking for a cute trendy reusable cup now....shopaholic now i have a good reason
rallyer59845 over 2 years ago
been using my own reuse-able cup for coffee instead of disposable.
StyrofoamMom about 3 years ago
Glad to take the challenge. For those who foget your cup many places offer cereamic cups. You can also get a few chuckles by ordering your coffee "topless." Or no "top no blet." Minus the sleeve and the plastic top you are making an impact and starting a trend. Just be careful, make sure they leave so you can carry.
28461_styrofoammom
rallyer54097 about 3 years ago
This is great!
rallyer47127 over 3 years ago
It is easy challenge to take. I will use my stainless steel cup to get my coffee from Tim Hortons.
carbonkat almost 4 years ago
Just got an Eco Friendly refillable cup at work which will help in my challenge! I AM READY!!
Dreamof1Love about 4 years ago
I go get coffee everyday and use a disposable cup so this will DEFINITELY be a challenge for me but I AM so READY!!
Administrator about 4 years ago
Studies show health benefits of coffee consumption. Just make sure you re-use your cup! http://yhoo.it/aW5tZL
CerridwynEldritch over 4 years ago
I'd do this... if I drank coffee. As it is, the smell gives me a headache. Haha, the only one in my family who drinks coffee is my mum but she makes her own at home (and I hand grind the beans for her. O.o) Of course, she has her own reusable mugs available.
olympia32 over 4 years ago
I always take my own reusable mug whereever I go, including camping, fishing, road rallies, and events.
Namhcetrepus over 4 years ago
I already grind my own beans every morning and use a stainless steel coffee mug. Wonder how much I have reduced the CO2 over the last 15 years.
ecoShuttle over 4 years ago
Always done this-biking makes it a challenge but you just need a good sealable mug and a caribener (sp?) to attach it to your bag.
Croe over 4 years ago
I too have been doing' this for quite awhile...leading me to wonder 'who are those disposable cup drinkers?'(JK. I know there are plenty out there who couldn't care less about good stewardship or thrift)
Dutchie2010 over 4 years ago
I try to get a coffee at home always. If I'm on the go I'll put it in a thermos. It also saves money not having to buy a coffee at starbucks!
marge201 over 4 years ago
Watch out at Starbucks. I brought my reusable mug in for some latte that I stupidly ordered for $4.50. As I waited for it, I saw the girl throw away a paper cup. I said, "huh?" She told me she used that paper cup to make the latte and poured it into my reusable mug and threw the paper cup away. TRUE STORY!!! Next time I'm in Starbucks, I'll be alerting them to this beforehand and won't let it happen. SO STUPID!!!!
raster over 4 years ago
I don't drink coffee. Once again something I can't stop doing because I never started. I feel like most of these challenges, I've already met. :/
shroomshra over 4 years ago
Oooooo.... this will be a hard one.
Gingergirl over 4 years ago
If you go to coffee shops to get your coffee, try handing the people there your reusable coffee cup and asking if they can put it in that. It's a suggestion.
howardj2 over 4 years ago
I've been doing this a while as well and already have my 3 challenges going! My support anyway...
perrinojonathan over 4 years ago
I've been rotating through 3 nalgenes and a camelbak for the past 2 years. I drink water 99% of the time so i'm also saving the CO2 from being used to process commercial drinks. go SED!!
gtr70 over 5 years ago
been using the nissan stainless insulated coffee mug for a while.. love it!!
BonnieO over 5 years ago
Been doing this one for awhile already.
ulissesg over 5 years ago
Done.
I actulluy made my on coffe cup in potery class! I use it almost everytime I go to "Timothys". I use my stainless steel cup sometimes too!
rallygreengirl over 5 years ago
i will definitely try this !!
Shahela over 5 years ago
This challenge has really been a great one. Not only is it a going green thing, but I've been able to give them out as gifts and spreading the news. Also it has further stopped people from buying plastic water bottles, so now they use this resusable mug for water as well as coffee.
rallygirlz over 5 years ago
We have been making our own coffee for the past two months. Not only have we helped the environment, we have saved a bunch of money.
ohkaii over 5 years ago
just bought my mug today, a greener world is soo close!
Dutchie2010 over 5 years ago
I always drink out of a mug. If I'm on the go I'll take it with me and so does the rest of my family :)
wickedawesome Max over 5 years ago
I think I know how to fix this one. At D and D, they sell these bags of coffee for as little as $7.00 for 1lb. So you can just take it home and use it in your mug for the same great taste {although I'v never tried coffee, I'm too young.}
skipper almost 6 years ago
This one is so easy for the chocolate crowd and tea drinkers to0. Find a mug you already have. We all have them. Use a caribeaner and hitch it onto your pack.
Hauni almost 6 years ago
God this will be hard. I'm going to go buy a reusable coffee mug. It will be worth it though, I waste $1.25/day on disposable coffee.
Ice almost 6 years ago
I have accepted this challenge. :-)
Z. Folley-Regusters almost 6 years ago
I just got a nice pink tumbler XD.
Blossom about 6 years ago
Now I can discipline myself to a coffee mug and don't have to feel guilty disposing of paper cups on a daily basis. I must share this with my co-workers in order for them to adapt to this behavior. It will cup down a tremendous amount of waste
Sadangel13 about 6 years ago
No more disposable cups for me. I have a travel mug that I can use and even save water bottles to reuse. It's perfect for my kids, as they are not allowed to have open drinks in the car.
hgracie about 6 years ago
I always forget to bring my travel mugs! SO I will make sure I do if I know I HAVE to!. I Love this. One of my challenges was up and I did not even miss it at all so I will continue to do it!
adrian about 6 years ago
I've been using a reusable mug for almost a year. The coffee shop I go to gives a $.25 discount. (I only started doing it because the cute girl that worked there told me it made her profits for the day look better)
melaniestair about 6 years ago
Just so you guys know, some places will give you a discount for using your own cup. I know starbucks gives you like 10 cents off each time. That money adds up!
shawnz about 6 years ago
Hi Green Team - Lets use our special cup from home for the month of July! Or buy one that keeps you green in July!!
alicia13_34448 about 6 years ago
No more paper cups for me. I've bought myself a really cool mug, so I'll want to show it off :)
Nova Shardz about 6 years ago
Oh man, this ones gonna be rough, I drink about 4-6 cups a day and didn't have a mug. I just bought a coffee mug so here we go. I never really thought about it before, but thats like 35 cups a week. I will always use my mug now.
a19zcs96_90210 over 6 years ago
When I did this challenge, I had to face it: I am addicted to coffee. This challenge helped me. Now I don't only drink coffee, I drink teas and things.
LoverGirl over 6 years ago
I drink alot of coffee I always go to this place down the street. The coffee is great but I never really like to get the to go coffee. This gives me a chance to stay a while I guess I should start leaving for school and work earlier.
Mori10 over 6 years ago
This is a sensible solution to our coffee cup addiction. Every day in the sky ways you see people on their cellphones with a disposable cup of Starbucks or Caribou in their hand. Most of those probably end up in landfills so I could see how that alone is causing lots of carbon. Excellent idea in my opinion.
ericdean614_44811 over 6 years ago
I enjoy brewing my own fair trade organic coffee at home early in the morning. Fill my insulated travel mug mix in a little cream and off to work I go passing by the commercial drive thrus and the crappy expensive vending machines. I figure I save about 8-10 disposable cups a week and a lots of pocket change. Frugality and environmental consciousness is such a perfect combination it should be marketed moreso.
michele.bechard over 6 years ago
i have been carrying my own metal lined tea cup for years. the coffee shop on my campus just switched to compost-able disposable cups, which is a good move, although their 10cent discount for "own cup" use is even better! another cafe in my town also gives a discount if you bring your own to-go packaging for take out orders-- brilliant.
sol-angel_55408 over 6 years ago
I decided to start this habit before taking the challenge. Where I currently work, we get coffee on a regulary basis during the day. Ditto to the first comment - how can we get co-workers to start participating?
chaoscat over 6 years ago
Almost as soon as I started my current job, I brought in a coffee mug. It took me a little longer to realize I could grab a one mug sized French Press and duck the waste produced by the horrible shoot-hot-water-through-a-plastic-container-of-coffee machine. Does anyone have any suggestions for getting co-workers to start using mugs instead of paper cups? I've got some mugs sitting around people could borrow, and I keep offering, but no one takes me up on it.
Joanie over 6 years ago
I've also brought my own cups to fast food places and not used their soda cups.
klaurit_80303 over 6 years ago
I like to keep two coffee mugs in the car so a friend can join me for that AM cup.
happytrailz_95608 over 6 years ago
Dang, this thing really works. I've realized this week just how often I wind up with disposable cups. I am being reprogrammed!
Jul over 6 years ago
I'v decided to give up coffee all together to make a bigger impact (been off it for about 2 weeks and going strong)! But I will definitely bring my own mugs whenever possible. One thing I did buy was a water jug to carry around and not have to buy plastic bottles. Cheers, Everyone! :)
mdterry_30513 over 6 years ago
I needed to stop going to the coffie shop. it helps me get to school faster, and now i have time for extra things to do, like recycling , or go around blue ridge, and pick up pollution, or fight agenst global warming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
jcsurles over 6 years ago
I've gotten so attached to my travel mug that I don't like to drink out of anything else anymore. One thing I've been trying to do is drink more water, and keeping the travel mug with me is helping me to do that as well. I know my mug is 16 ounces, so if I fill it up with water and drink it 4 times, I've gotten all the water I need for the day. It's an added bonus for my health.
birdman (Carbonrally) over 6 years ago
check out ready2rally's cool bonus coffee tip "here":http://www.carbonrally.com/suggestions/201. great idea!
SeñoritaChe over 6 years ago
I carry a mug with me, but none of the coffee shops at my university will let you use your own mug. When I get up early enough, I make my own coffee or tea, but it gets really frustrating that these places will not put their coffee in my reusable mug.
elisa over 6 years ago
if i don't have my cup with me i don't get coffee/tea.
hassi over 6 years ago
I've been carrying my "Equal Exchange" travel mug for some time now. The local coffee shop at Hastings gives a small discount for bringing your own cup so the savings goes both ways... I've taken to making sure our travel plates and utensils go with us as well... Keep saving...The Gaia needs us all...
miri over 6 years ago
So today I remembered my cup from home. I took it to Starbucks this morning and Dunkins this afternoon(yes, i drink alot of coffee). At Starbucks they only charged me for a tall, AND gave me a "bringyourowncup" discount. Dunkins was less generous... charged for a medium and no green discount.
lorelei over 6 years ago
I have plenty of extra travel mugs cluttering up my cabinet, so I commit to bring some into the workplace to replace paper cups.
tina.burns_14618 over 6 years ago
I brew my own coffee at home and carry it to work in a thermos. Not only do I have GREAT tasting coffee, but I also save money and don't use any disposable cups EVER!
herbs4life_22949 over 6 years ago
That is a great idea, Beret, to have two or more containers handy, and available when needed. I am a hot chai and cold chai drinker and have been reusing paper, styrofoam and plastic containers for purchase and home brewing until they wear out, look awful or pose a health hazard. It does save on disposal and sometimes on the cost of a purchased brew.
chriscarroll_30030 over 6 years ago
One of the advantages of bringing your own cup is that coffee tastes better. Styrofoam adds a nasty bitterness to the brew, and sometimes paper isn't that friendly, either. I find the folks at most coffee shops are quite willing to rinse out my cup.
miri over 6 years ago
Like Beret, I keep forgetting my travel mug. Needed to find a coffee shop with a "for here" mug option, a quick espresso, SOMETHING. However, was nearest to a Dunkin Donuts where the only "for here" option would have been to take a pull directly off the java dispenser which I didn't think would fly so I never even asked.
Beret' over 6 years ago
This challenge was tailored made for me. I've had travel mugs sitting in the cabinet above my fridge and I just keep forgetting to grab them. Today, I am committing to keep one in my car and one on my desk at work so that I always have one to take to the coffeehouse. And the great thing is, once I get into the habit, it will be easy to do it longer than one week. And with all the coffee I drink, that will save a lot of carbon.