In an effort to reduce waste from the 158 million disposable cups that are used daily in the United States, KillTheCup.com launched a national campaign today challenging Americans to make a pledge to commit to drinking from a reusable cup on Earth Day, April 22. The San Diego-based non-profit is seeking 22,000 coffee drinkers to make the Earth Day Pledge by visiting KillTheCup.com and entering their email address.
"As drinking coffee becomes even more popular, the disposable cup has become an iconic and highly visible symbol of waste and negative environmental impact," says Drew Beal, Chief Environmental Optimist, Kill the Cup. "By simply making a commitment to start to drink from a reusable cup on Earth Day, every American is contributing to helping save our planet for future generations one cup at a time."
From April 2-22, coffee drinkers can make their pledge to drink from a reusable cup at KillTheCup.com and share their pledge and the campaign via social media platforms. Individuals who make the Earth Day Pledge can also participate in a fundraising campaign to support the Kill the Cup University Challenge. The funds raised will go towards keeping the university program free and expanding its reach to as many schools as possible.
The inaugural Kill the Cup University Challenge launched at eight universities across the country in the fall of 2014. During the 20-day campaign, 1,260 students uploaded more than 2,200 photos to KillTheCup.com. The percentage of coffees sold in reusable containers rose by 65.4%. The campaign saved an estimated 15,440 cups, equivalent to 244 pounds of landfill waste, 3,860 gallons of water and 1.93 tons of CO2 emissions associated with the manufacturing process.
The rate of coffee cup reuse has been a point of interest for many national coffee retailers, most notably Starbucks. According to their website, the Seattle-based company has a 2015 goal of achieving a 5% reuse rate. Reported figures from 2012 and 2013 have been 1.5% and 1.8% respectively.
The International Coffee Organization recently reported that coffee consumption is expected to increase 25% in the next five years. "We must reduce our reliance on single-use disposables," says Beal. "And that's what we're working on at Kill the Cup."