Winner of Fourth Annual Reusable Cup Challenge is WC3


Press Release


Winner of Fourth Annual Reusable Cup Challenge is WC3



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 – March 5, 2014– The fourth annual Reusable Cup Challenge has wrapped up with its biggest year yet. Thirteen coffee shops in the Roaring Fork Valley participated in Aspen, Woody Creek, Snowmass Village, Carbondale and Basalt.  The goal was to get the highest number of customers to bring reusable mugs instead of using disposable ones.  Sixty-one percent of the total shops achieved a rate of at least 25% reusable mug use and 46% of the shops had over 40% of their customers use reusable mugs. Waste Free Roaring Fork, a collaborative waste reduction group in the Valley, sponsored the challenge with help from the City of Aspen and the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE).  

For the first time, the winning coffee shop was not in Aspen but in Woody Creek. Of the overall drinks sold at The Woody Creek Community Center for the week of February 10th through the 14th, 59% were reusable. The second place winner was first time participant Saxy’s Café in Basalt with a reusable mug rate of 53%.

"The Woody Creek Community Center is looking forward to keeping the reusable cup movement going. We started carrying to-go mugs with our logo and we have new themed mugs by Snowmass potter, Laura Carmichael Smith, that are so popular customers come in requesting their lattes ‘in a Goddess Mug,’” said Emily Taylor, Executive Director. "We can’t wait to make our cozy space in Woody Creek more energy efficient thanks to the CORE prize.”

As a prize for winning, the Woody Creek Community Center will receive a free energy assessment, a $400 value, as well as $1,000 in energy efficiency upgrades. 


According to a study conducted by Starbucks and the Alliance for the Environmental Innovation, each paper coffee cup that is manufactured is responsible for a quarter pound of CO2 emissions. The 2,095 reusable mugs that were used in the Cup Challenge avoided an approximate 524 pounds of CO2. If the coffee shops continued at this rate, the thirteen participating shops could help avoid 38,252 pounds of CO2 emissions over the course of one year.


Based on the figures published by Global Green USA Resource Recovery, the Roaring Fork Valley could spare 58 trees and avoid over ton of waste, if this rate of reusable cup use continued for a year.


Disposable coffee cups are non-recyclable due to the polystyrene lining so many end-up degrading in a landfill which contributes to methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.


“We are pleased with the overall participation in this year’s Cup Challenge. The Challenge isn’t just about the one week but about encouraging customers to get in the habit of switching permanently to reusable mugs,” said Lucy Kessler, Outreach Coordinator at CORE. “Many of the shops sold out of their reusable mugs within a few days of the Challenge so we know they were distributed into the community.”


Reusable mugs require resources to create as well.  One steel reusable mug is equivalent in resource consumption to 24 paper cups, but if you use your mug more than 24 times then every subsequent use will consume fewer resources than a disposable cup. It is estimated that reusable cups are good for several thousand uses.


Participants in the Waste Free Roaring Fork Cup Challenge included:

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


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Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2014