A Citibike for Coffee Cups

By Larissa Zimberoff |
FWX USED COFFEE CUPS

Daniel Atkin / Alamy

The sharing economy might have a new entrant: coffee cups. How many disposable cups do you think we go through in this country every year? If you guessed any fewer than 16 billion, you missed the mark. That’s a serious issue when you consider that using just one of those cups each day generates 23 pounds of waste per year. (Want more stats? Find them here.) So one group of students came up with a plan that would allow you to drink your coffee in a eco-friendly and guilt-free way. It’s called Good to Go and the team, made up of 18 people from around the world, launched a successful pilot program in New York City this past spring.

The Good to Go pilot was similar to many popular bike-share programs around the country. Coffee drinkers could buy a reusable cup for $5, coffee included. After getting their caffeine fix, they could return the cup to one of more than 300 locations around the city, where it would be cleaned and given to another coffee-craving customer. Customers who wanted coffee the next day would just have to bring in the lid from their shared cup, and would get a new reusable one to fill with their brew of choice.

The team partnered with Brooklyn Roasting Company to make 500 cups, but after the initial success increased that number to 1,000.

The pilot program in New York has wrapped up, but after its popularity we hope they plan to bring it back to a town near you. And even though the program is currently on hiatus, Brooklyn Roasting Company still offers a 25-cent discount if you bring in your own mug. For heavy drinkers that’s $1.75 a week or $91 a year. So you’ve got no excuse not to drink green.

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