Last-minute gift that will last the whole year: a Coffee Thermos

Each year my mother spends the weeks after Thanksgiving repeatedly asking me what I want for Christmas, and I never know what to ask for! I usually don’t tell her and I end up getting socks, some books that aren’t on my desired reading list, and other things I don’t particularly want. So when my mother asked me this year I set about thinking of practical items I could ask for that I would want to use in my everyday life. One such item was a Starbucks coffee thermos.

Judge if you will, but I can honestly say that I am a huge fan of Starbucks. I love that almost anywhere I go, I can get the same product at roughly the same price and have a familiar experience. I find that consistency rather relaxing, in fact.

I usually go to Starbucks every Monday morning, to kick start my week, as well as Friday afternoon, as a sort of reward to myself for making it through the week. I also go a few more times each month to have coffee with friends that I may not see on a regular basis. If you think about it, that’s around 100 to 150 cups of coffee each year. Or, if you’re being specific, 100 to 150 cups, lids, and straws or cup sleeves each year.

I found it a bit disturbing that I was creating that much waste with my habit of going to Starbucks. Meghan Eldridge, who also writes for Footprint, pointed out to me that all of these items are recyclable, but that didn’t make me feel much better. Hence my asking my mother for a Starbucks thermos.

The one I chose was a 16oz. model so that I can get a tall or grande beverage (depending on how much caffein I’m in the mood for). I will now also have a thermos that I can use for my favorite tea that I make at home. Furthermore, Starbucks gives me a ten cent discount each time I use my thermos, meaning the $20 thermos pays for itself after 200 uses or in my case one and a half to two years. I’ve now had my Sigg water bottle for about five years, so I’m sure I’ll have no trouble using my Starbucks thermos for double or triple the time it will take it to pay for itself.

For those of you who enjoy an occasional cup of Starbucks coffee but don’t generally go enough to justify buying a reusable thermos, there’s no need to fear! Starbucks does lots of cool things to help the environment. One of the major projects Starbucks is working on is making their coffee cups more sustainable. In fact, they have held several “cup summits” over the years to bring innovators together to find ways to make their cups more environmentally friendly. They also recycle most of the packaging behind the counter that the customers never even see. However, one of their initiatives that I found most interesting is that, upon request, Starbucks will give you a free 5lb. bag of used coffee grounds for your compost. Some of the locations even take their used coffee grounds to commercial composting companies nearby.

Obviously Starbucks isn’t perfect. There are still many things they could work on, but then so could all of us. It’s just nice to know a business that I frequent is making an effort to improve it’s sustainability and that I can take part in that.

To find out more about Starbucks’ sustainability efforts visit the following link: http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/learn-more/goals-and-progress

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