Fourth Annual Reusable Cup Challenge is February 10-14th


Press Release


Fourth Annual Reusable Cup Challenge is February 10-14th



Contact: Lucy Kessler, Outreach Coordinator, Community Office for Resource Efficiency, 970-963-1090 or and Liz O’Connell, Waste Reduction and Environmental Health Specialist, City of Aspen, 970-429-1831 or Liz.O’

Aspen, Colorado – February 6, 2014– Want to reduce waste and carbon emissions and help your favorite coffee shop become more energy efficient?  You can by bringing your own mug when you purchase beverages around the valley in the fourth annual reusable cup challenge from February 10-14th.  This year a record twelve coffee shops in Aspen, Snowmass Village, Woody Creek, Basalt and Carbondale are entered in a friendly competition to determine which one can encourage the most customers to use reusable mugs.

The coffee shop that sells the highest percentage of coffee in reusable cups for the week wins $1,000 in energy efficiency upgrades from CORE’s Energy Smart program as well as a free waste-audit from the City of Aspen Environmental Health department.

“We think this challenge is an opportunity to remind and educate the community about the waste and resources that are associated with single-use items and to actively reduce waste by using reusable mugs,” says Liz O’Connell, the Waste Reduction and Environmental Health Specialist at the City of Aspen.

To participate in the challenge, customers should bring a reusable mug to any participating coffee shop and make sure their cup is included on that shop’s tally board.  Many participating coffee shops will offer discounted reusable mugs and may offer discounted coffee for customers who bring their own mug.

“A reusable cup requires resources such as petroleum, plastic and water to manufacture but you only need to use a ceramic mug 18 times or a plastic mug eight times for it to break even with the paper cup in water and energy use and waste,” said Lucy Kessler, Outreach Coordinator for CORE.

Waste Free Roaring Fork, a collaborative waste reduction group in the Valley, is sponsoring the challenge with help from the City of Aspen and CORE.  


Participants in the Waste Free Roaring Fork Cup Challenge include:

Bonfire Coffee and Dos Gringos in Carbondale; Frank Thirion French Pastry Café, Aspen and the ABC; Fuel and Starbucks at the Westin, Snowmass; Ink! Coffee, Paradise Bakery, Peach’s Corner Café, Spring Café and Starbucks, Aspen; Saxy’s Cafe, Basalt and Woody Creek Community Center, Woody Creek

The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups each year, totaling about 16 billion disposable coffee cups in the United States. The process of manufacturing those cups requires resources such as trees, water and energy. About 20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water are used each year in disposable cup manufacturing.  ( According to the Environmental Defense Organization, we could power 53,000 homes with the energy America consumes in paper cup use. Additionally, most disposable cups are non-recyclable due to the polystyrene lining so they end up in a landfill.

When disposable cups degrade in a landfill they emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In addition, generating and transporting disposable cups requires energy with an associated carbon footprint. According to a study conducted by Starbucks and the Alliance for the Environmental Innovation, each paper cup manufactured is responsible for a quarter pound of CO2 emissions. By using a reusable mug in the Cup Challenge, customers can reduce their CO2 emissions by 1.2 pounds over the five days.

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Posted on Thursday, February 06, 2014