Cup-by-Cup Redux

The old ALA Task Force on the Environment (TFOE) promoted “Cup-by-Cup” event at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. Monika Antonelli, Elaine Harger, Al Kagan, and I (others may have been present) lamented that far too many empty hot and cold beverage cups and plastic water bottles were scattered all over the floors, shelves, and tables at the 2007 Annual Meeting. Someone got the brilliant idea that TFOE should actively support an informal event making a statement that would draw attention to the task force’s mission and encourage ALA Members a means to reduce their carbon footprints while attending an ALA Conference, and “Cup-by-Cup” was launched.

It is time not only to bring “Cup-by-Cup” back to ALA Meetings (including division and chapter meetings), but make it a permanent fixture at these events, and perhaps contemplate ways to expand the concept. In essence, this campaign provides one (or more) ways showing ALA Members how to make simple lifestyle changes that provide more sustainable conferences, protect the health of Earth, and provide examples for solving an upcoming climate crisis.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Bring a reusable cup, mug, and/or water bottle to the Midwinter Meeting;
  2. Fill it with a favorite beverage(s) at the ALA event (You CANNOT bring a full water bottle on to an airplane);
  3. Raise your cups, mugs, and bottles with pride that you are taking small steps in combating a variety of environmental issues, including climate change while overtly promoting the concept of sustainability, that helps our planet;
  4. Drink happily, repeat throughout the entire event and support the efforts of SustainRT in making a more sustainable ALA event; and
  5. Do and promote this at other library association meetings you attend, including other ALA Chapter and Division National and Regional Meetings.

International Paper estimated that in 2005 Americans used more than 14 BILLION disposable paper cups just for hot beverages. TFOE estimated in 2008 if only 50 Starbucks quaffers brought their own mugs, more than 150,000 paper cups (equaling 1.7 million pounds of paper and 3.7 million pounds of solid waste in production of these cups) would be spared.

Going One More Step

Americans throw out enough plastic dinner-ware to circle the equator 300 times! Instead of throwing those knives, spoons, and forks into the garbage consider bringing or carrying your own. Here is what To-Go Ware has to say about RePEatT Utensils: “How about a bamboo utensil set to round out the perfect toolkit for life on the go? A handy carabineer on the back lets you clip and carry a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks wherever they may roam. Perfect for a busy lifestyle and our precious planet.” Their line of bamboo flatware & chopsticks provide utensils that are heat and stain resistant, won’t impart or absorb flavors, are lightweight and strong (durability is one of the keys to green products), and they are hand-finished with top grade natural and food-safe wood oil. For more information, visit their website, To-Go Ware is a company with a rock-solid commitment to social responsibilities (environment, labor, human rights, justice, and more), which are impressive and described in great detail in their mission statement. To-Go Ware is approved by Green America and shown on The Oprah Winfrey Show and is Big Tree Carbon Committed.

Other Bamboo & Eco-Friendly Dinnerware and Other Products

  • Bamboo Studio – we are using the strength, beauty, renewability, and versatility of bamboo to offer an ever widening array of products.
  • BambooWare – “Our reusable BambooWare product line is a revolutionary dishware that is eco-friendly, biodegradable, beautiful and durable.”
  • Paperless Kitchen was founded to help individuals, households, businesses and organizations adopt greener lifestyles and philosophies by offering alternatives to disposable kitchen products.”
  • Smarty Had a Party – “Serve it up with attitude! Then send it back – to be renewed.”

Submitted by Frederick Stoss

Disclaimer: SustainRT has not vetted the products or companies mentioned in this post.