Take a step towards saving paper (& plastic)

Earlier this week I told you about how I am trying to use fewer disposable paper tissues by carrying a handkerchief with me instead. That pledge is going well so far, and it’s also been a lot gentler on my nose – especially in the horrible cold weather we’re having here in Wales at the moment.

Over the past few weeks, I have also been trying to cut down on the amount of paper and plastic I throw away by avoding using take-out cups. I already take a flask with me to work every day, but I did have a terrible habit of grabbing a take-out coffee when I was out and about. Not only was I throwing away a lot of disposable cups, but I also realised there was very rarely any reason for me not to drink in the coffee shop if I want a coffee. It’s quite nice to take 20 minutes out and actually sit down and enjoy my decaff soya latte. I’ve also found that my coffee break is a great time to write, and I generally do a lot more work in my notebook in the coffee shop than when I’m at home on my computer.


In the office where I work, my desk is right next to the coffee and water vending machines. Not only is it annoying because there are always people hanging around that get in my way, but all day long I hear the tap-tap-tap of disposable plastic cups being thrown away. I’ve actually seen colleagues get one cup of water from the cooler, drink the water, throw that cup away and then get another cup for more water. They don’t even think to use the same cup twice!

Interestingly, the people who fill the vending machines ran out of plastic cups for a few days a couple of months back. I noticed that a lot of people started using their own water bottles and ceramic mugs brought from home. After one or two days, it made little difference that there were no plastic cups. And I’m glad to say that a lot of my colleagues have continued to use their own water bottles and mugs since.