coffee cup

The short life of a disposable coffee cup in the hands of an SSE student

coffee cup

360: That is the number of disposable coffee cups an SSE master student will use in three years, given that he or she buys one coffee a day. 2,520 kr: That is the amount that the same student will have spent on coffee upon graduation.

What is interesting about most disposable coffee cups is that they cannot really be recycled (they can, but not through the main cardboard recycling systems). The regular paper-based cups that we usually get around school are lined with plastic in order to make them waterproof. That means that, after an extremely short lifespan in our hands, they end up in trash cans and then in a landfill. Not to mention the little plastic lids, which can be recycled but, let’s be honest, who does actually take the time to separate the lid and the cup in order to throw them into two different bins?

Does it make sense to have highly processed products like disposable coffee cups mass-produced and shipped all the way from Asia, for us to use them for a few minutes? I don’t think so.

But fear not, fellow student, because there are alternatives to this completely unnecessary waste of disposable coffee cups and natural resources.

  • Bring your own reusable coffee cup: You can make coffee at home and bring it with you in a thermos, or you can buy your regular takeaway coffee and tell the barista to skip the paper cup! It will keep your coffee warm longer, and it will not spill all over your clothes when you are struggling to carry all your school stuff. That is a win-win-win!
  • A “coffee-deal”: In Norway, student communities and gas stations offer coffee deals by which you can pay an amount between 199 and 700 kr a year and drink as much black coffee (or tea) as you want, as long as you use a reusable cup. For someone who pays 1,260 kr a year to drink one cup a day, a coffee deal for half the price would be great! This option, of course, requires work and negotiations with some coffee shops, but if there are any engaged students out there willing to make this reality, please let me know!



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