Green Police Score a Victory with Reusable Starbucks Cups

Frani O’Toole Considering our penchant for both the environment and Starbucks, I’m surprised the reusable Starbucks cups weren’t invented in Latin’s own science center. Nevertheless, the cup –which, as an added bonus, saves a Starbucks customer ten cents per use– has finally found it’s way to the Latin community. We owe the introduction to Mr. Cronister, who announced his supply of free cups at gathering last Tuesday. “I’ve been overwhelmed,” Mr. Cronister said, waving away reusable cup-seekers piled outside his cafeteria window. Thus far, Mr. Cronister has distributed forty mugs, and is awaiting a shipment of twenty-five more. His first batch was purchased on a whim — hearing that the cost of a cup was $1, he used part of his environment/student life budget to buy ten cups. Met with overwhelming demand, Mr. Cronister quickly ordered more. “A lot of people just appreciate that it’s free,” adds Mr. Cronister, noting that “no matter how you join the ‘good side,’ it may make a lightbulb go off.” What is making students “join the good side,” then, and how much does the environment–the reason for the cups in the first place– affect their interest? Sophomore Martina Pineiros says she likes that the cups alleviate “my guilt from using paper cups for drinks, and at the same time I save ten cents at Starbucks”! Senior Laura Barker agrees that her interest in the cups is multifaceted; she says “I love that they’re eco- friendly, and they are really cute too!” Sophomore Erika Marks, who had purchased a cup before Mr. Cronister’s announcement, says that, though she may not have bought the cup solely for its environmental benefits, she’s learned to appreciate its green significance. Though many members of the community embrace the reusable cups, some remain skeptical. Mr. Fript, who himself uses a ceramic mug, argues against the reusable, plastic Starbucks cups. “Plastic is evil,” he says. “It is a horrible harmful pollutant that never goes away […] it will always be somewhere in the ecosystem.” The regular Starbucks paper cups, on the other hand, biodegrade. In addition, replacing paper cups might displace many of the American manufacturing jobs they encompass. Regardless of paper vs. plastic, however, the goal remains the same: how do we as a community become greener? No, how do we as a community stay greener? “Sustainability” is an important word when discussing the environment; however, it applies to more than just how we manufacture or consume energy. Some students like freshman Dwight Brugh question if Latin can sustain its commitment to the reusable Starbucks cups. “The idea of reusing things is great,” Dwight says, “but not many people will follow through with it.” His point is relevant to many of Latin’s green initiatives and our difficulty in adhering to them. Most of the initiatives require little effort — the simply ask we turn off lights, print conservatively, or reuse the same Starbucks cup. Nevertheless, we often resort back to our old, wasteful ways when Mr. Cronister and the green police are not around to patrol us. Maybe if being green meant as much to us as Starbucks coffee, we could really make a difference.    ]]>