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Miss604 Poll: The Travel Mug Issue

March 25th, 2008 @ 8:09am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Aside from Raul, who is finishing up his doctorate in environmental studies, and DaveO who works for happyfrog and was there at Clayoquot, I’d have to say Keira’s one of my most eco-conscious friends.

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A few weeks ago she wrote a blog post inspired by words printed on the side of a Starbucks cup. As a result, she was asked why she gets the paper cups in the first place, and was told she should be using a travel mug. Her explanation to me was that her coffees just don’t taste the same coming out of a travel mug.

Talking with John yesterday, he said he’s the only person in his department at work that actually recycles his paper coffee cups. He said he’d try a travel mug if it didn’t insulate so well – as in, it still allowed for a slow cooling of the coffee so it becomes a drinkable heat by the time you get it back to your desk.

As for me? I try travel mugs but I always end up forgetting them at work. I need to make sure nothing will spill out the top on my way in, and then remember to wash them out when I’m done. If I don’t wash it out I won’t put it in my purse to cart home for the next morning cause it’ll be dirty and drippy. It soon becomes a part of the dish washing machine at work that I perpetually forget to recover.

I suppose save for my general laziness when it comes to the travel mugs, I could spare some lovely trees from a venti-sized doom if I simply found an ideal cup. Let’s put it to a Miss604 poll (since coffee and Miss604 polls seem to be a trend [1][2]) although unfortunately is the only one now in existence since the others got nuked when I upgraded my WP and changed hosts.

[Poll Closed]

If you don’t use either or have a reusable cup of choice, leave a comment below. Also, Salt Spring Organic Coffee…. is amazingly tasty.

Current contests on Miss604.com

19 comments

  1. Tris Hussey says:

    I used to really like Roasters coffee (what those who live on SSI call it). But now I don’t. I don’t know what they changed but it just isn’t as good as it used to be (I lived there for years and go back often). IMHO the best coffee is at TJ Beans.

  2. carolbrowne says:

    You can’t roll up the travel mug to win, unfortunately.

  3. wyn says:

    I leave a mug at work and drink green tea or herbal teas that I don’t add milk to. It’s easy to clean and dry either by tossing it in the dishwasher or a quick scrub and rinse… don’t see the need for a travel mug, personally, as I can’t drink well-insulated scalding tea from a bus that is constantly lurching!

  4. Duane Storey says:

    When the snow started melting around April in Ottawa, the first thing you’d notice is a pile of paper cups buried in the snow – six months of Tim Hortons garbage people had just chucked around the city. It was gross.

    I don’t use travel mugs, but honestly, 90% of the coffee I drink is at home or at work, and in both places I can use regular cups. I also am not big into the expensive coffees — even if I go to a coffee shop, I generally only get a basic drip coffee, and usually drink it there.

  5. Marina says:

    I live by my travel mugs. I always carry mine in my bag but I’ll admit that the biggest reason for using it is out of convenience rather than being consciously earth friendly. Starbucks and Costco have great leak-proof travel mugs that I can just pop into my bag. I’d never trust them in the same pocked as my computer but they have yet to spill and they make my life much easier when I’m maneuvering on transit (and as a bonus they keep my coffee warm)!

  6. Jen says:

    I use an old pink Starbucks travel mug – and when I arrive in the office, I take the lid off to let it cool. When at my desk, I use an old Miss Piggy ceramic mug. I don’t need a travel mug for my desk as I am not travelling anywhere. :)

  7. Tawcan says:

    I drink tea at work and I always use regular cups. About 95% of the coffee I drink nowadays are mostly at 7 am or earlier at the Squamish Timmy’s. I don’t carry a travel cup around with me, a lot of my outdoor buddies carry around a thermo bottle with them though.

  8. Raul says:

    I’m glad you asked this question, Rebecca! I do own several travel mugs (purchased at IKEA, no less!) and have the same problem that John indicates… my coffee ends up being way too hot, apparently nobody has invented a travel mug with a heat transfer coefficient that is good enough to keep the coffee warm yet drinkable.

    When I buy a coffee on the way to the office, I do the same as Jen (remove the lead so that it cools off a bit), but that also creates the problem that if I really need to be awake on the bus (or I really want to warm my body up while I wait for the bus), I pretty much can’t do that because the coffee is just smoking hot.

    What to do? Honestly, the most environmentally friendly approach is considered the use of mugs/travel mugs. But if I were to really put the environmental interest to the test, I probably would focus more on the actual choice of coffee (e.g. ethically traded vs. non-ethically traded) than on the containment method. Producing coffee is extremely energy and water consuming, and thus it ends up being a guilty pleasure.

    What I do is I drink organic, ethically-traded coffee at home, most of the time. By the time I am on my way to the office, I’ve already had my dose of coffee and don’t have the need to buy one on the way. When I work at coffee shops, I never ask for a paper cup.

    Sorry… longest comment ever :D

  9. Beth says:

    I bring my travel mug everywhere. Of course, I like my coffee and tea to be lava hot, so don’t face this concern of the coffee not being cooled off enough when I get to work. My backpack also has a water bottle holder that fits my travel mug perfectly, which helps out when I’m juggling my coffee, purse, iPod and bus pass on my morning commute.

    I agree with Marina that those leak-proof travel mugs rock. Not that I have one myself… I’m cheap and use free travel mugs that I’ve received from various places.

  10. Percy says:

    Bus ride to work in the morning = more sleep!
    If your favourite coffee place is really close to work, then try arriving to work, getting your mug you left there, and go get your coffee. Then, when you return to your office/desk, unlid the travel mug and let it cool.

    Alternatively, get two travel mugs. Take one from home, get coffee, wash in office dishwasher. Next morning, bring second mug, get coffee, wash in office dishwasher. Here’s the important part: when you wash the second mug, REMEMBER to retrieve your first mug (which should now be clean) and take home. Rinse, lather, repeat.

  11. Karen says:

    I answered yes to your poll but the truth is I probably only use a reusable mug about half the time. I have a regular mug on my desk at UBC and am a stone’s throw from the Salt Spring location here, so I try to use that mug if I’m buying a coffee on campus. I also own several travel mugs but am awful with keeping track of them, and don’t always have one with me when I decide I want to buy a coffee.

    Here’s an interesting compromise:
    http://www.contexture.ca/bentwood/cuff.php

    It’s a wooden bracelet that doubles as a cup sleeve. So if you’re using a paper cup you can at least save a bit of paper by forgoing the cardboard sleeve.

  12. phaedra says:

    I find the travel mugs, no matter what make, have a weird taste when drinking from them. At school I have a mug from home that I use. When I do go to a coffee shop, I am guilty of using a paper cup. I never take a sleeve though, as I feel my drink shouldn’t be so hot that I need one.

  13. Gregg says:

    You need to spend around $35 for a good travel mug. 3 Vets sells a Nissan one that keeps liquid too hot to drink for 2 – 3 hours.

    The whining that it ‘doesn’t taste the same’ or ‘I’m too lazy’ that I hear from people simply falls on deaf ears to me. This isn’t about you. It’s about what energy your children’s children’s children will have to expend to clean up after lazy, selfish you.

    Starbucks as any fast-food franchise is a major contributor to landfill.

  14. I usually go for cold bevvies in a Sigg bottle but when I want warm, I use a travel mug similar to what Gregg described. I stick it in a large Ziploc when I’m done with it, so that the contents of my bag do not end up sporting whatever was in the mug.

  15. Keith says:

    I have the same issue you do with the general laziness regarding the ever-eco-friendly travel mug. And the lids! Oh the lids that get lost/misplaced/snatched by gremlins. I must have a half dozen lidless travel mugs at home (which pretty much makes them “mugs”).

    The only travel mug I use regularly is the one on my desk for the water cooler; because it’s only water it doesn’t require cleaning as often.

    I never considered a large ziploc bag for transporting any less-clean travel mugs. I might have to try that now. Simple and ingenious, Chris!

  16. Peter says:

    I’ve become pretty regular using a travel mug, though I did switch to one with a metal inside to get rid of the plastic taste. But, I really want to try out this ultra-low-tech travel mug that probably gives the same taste as a ceramic mug. There are a few downsides, but overly insulating is not one of them!

    http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/2007/07/my-ultra-cool-r.html

  17. Crystal says:

    If you’re going to get a travel mug – check what it is made of! Don’t get a plastic one for putting hot drinks in – Bisphenol A is a likely leachable of plastic travel mugs. I just discovered today that I should probably get a new one, as I have the ominous #7 on the bottom of mine!

  18. Erika says:

    Anybody know when the travel mug was introduced to the consumer market? I’m doing a short paper for a creative writing class, and i need some facts!

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