The Post-Throwaway Culture

Pope Francis talks about a “throwaway culture” in his encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si:

These problems are closely linked to a throwaway culture which affects the excluded just as it quickly reduces things to rubbish…We have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations, while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them.

How can we move away from a throwaway culture of convenience towards a culture of renewal and sustainability?

Here’s one idea to start with; expect more suggestions in future posts: Do you visit coffee shops like Stumptown, Blue Bottle, Caribou, Costa, or Starbucks, or the espresso stand at work?

Are you bringing your own reusable coffee mug to your coffee shop? If not, why not purchase a steel coffee mug and bring that with you. Just think of how much paper cups and plastic lids you will save by doing this.

Suzanna and I have been using double-walled steel coffee mugs that we bought over 10 years ago at Starbucks. Okay, I may have lost one of them and replaced it, and we may have a spare, but you get the idea. I estimate we have saved over 6,000 single-use cups and lids over the past 10 years. Bonus: many coffee shops give you a discount when you bring your own mug since it also saves them money. This can be a good first step away from a throwaway culture.

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