I Didn’t Use Paper Cups for a Month. Here’s What Happened…

We bring reusable bags to the grocery store to save 5 cents, why not bring a mug and save up to 25 cents on every cup of coffee you buy? There are some discussions about why not, but I’m all about saving a few extra bucks, so I figured I’d give it a go and bring my own mug when I planned to buy coffee.

Originally, I planned to do this for one week, but given that I don’t buy coffee as often as I predicted, I extended this to a month. Let’s talk about what happened.

  • My organizational skills improved.

I know, it sounds stupid. But if I didn’t remember my travel mug that day, I didn’t get a coffee. It was that simple. As the month went on, I forgot my mug less and less. There were several times that I grabbed two travelers, just so I could buy a friend a drink. At first, it took some planning and I had to be conscious of it. But now, it’s second nature to grab a mug (or two) before leaving the house. Even if I don’t use it, I’m prepared.


  • I saved money.

Many people don’t realize, but by bringing your own mug, you can save as much as 25 cents on a cup of coffee. In many offices or schools, they offer free coffee if you have something to put it in (you might not get a free Starbucks latte, but at least you’re not spending a dime). And because I was already carrying a mug around, many times I was conscious enough to make coffee at home, so I didn’t have to stop on my way to school.


  • It’s a conversation starter.

I’m an introvert, and as much as I enjoy having conversations with those that I am close with, I’m a little bit weary of talking with strangers. Even so, people would take notice and compliment me on the fact that I was trying to make a difference.

  • People buy you mugs to support your new habit.

I had a friend who noticed that I carried around the same travel mug for a few days. Between my newfound love for travel mugs and her generosity, I have a whole collection of cute mugs and travel mugs. I even parted with a few so that another friend of mine had a spare mug for her own travels. Pretty neat how something so simple could create so much community-like support.


  • And finally, pride!

I hesitated to add this in the list, only because a lot of people turn their noses at people who go vegan to “save the earth” or buy less plastic to “save the planet!” A few of my friends laughed at me when I suggested this challenge for myself and made comments about how one person won’t change anything. There are SO many blogs about how one person really can make a difference, but that’s another issue for another time. This challenge instilled a sense of pride. I saved nearly 20 paper cups from being thrown into landfills.

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-teal-and-white-polka-dot-tumbler-1509563/

Imagine how much of a difference you could make to yourself, your wallet, and the world if you did the same thing even once. Try it. See what happens.

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