Everybody knows that the environmental impact of the disposable coffee cups that we use on a daily basis is huge, yet most of us are unwilling to give up the addiction. According to an estimate, 58 billion coffee cups end up in landfills annually in just the US alone, as their thin plastic lining makes it difficult to recycle them.
However, the city of Boulder, Colorado, is about to prove that there’s a better way of doing coffee. It has partnered with a startup called Vessel Works to offer stainless steel insulated mugs in a number of coffee shops across the city. Customers can ‘check out’ these mugs using an app, get them filled with the drink of their choice, and then leave the coffee shop as they usually would.
The dirty mug can be returned to any participating café or to kiosks in other locations, up to five days after use. After that point there’s a $15 fine for missing mugs, which are tracked using the app.