Guest Post by Judy Clement Wall
Last week I had a meeting in one of my favorite coffee shops. (When I rule the world, all meetings will take place in coffee shops or parks. Unless you have props that require more than just a wireless connection. Then you can hold your meeting in a conference room but don’t be surprised if no one comes because they’re busy going to fun meetings in coffee shops and parks.)
Normally I order my coffee in a real cup so there is nothing to recycle, but this time I ordered an iced latte and didn’t even to think to ask if they had real glasses. When I finished, I checked (born again recycler that I am) the bottom of the cup and found it was recyclable. I looked for a place to put it and finding only regular garbage cans, I held onto it until my meeting was over, then asked the barista on my way out if they had a place for recyclables. She said yes and took my cup into a back room where, presumably, she dropped it into the top secret recycle bin not available to customers.
I am left to ponder:
- Was there really a recycle bin in the back room? I hope so, but how do I know?
- What about all the people who didn’t think to check their cups or didn’t bother to bother the barista when they were through?
- What about my straw? Was that recyclable too? (I threw it in the regular trash.)
I think change comes slowly and often through grass roots efforts. Successful businesses respond to their customers (or get bailed out, but that is an entirely different blog post). Next time I visit my favorite little coffee shop, I will ask for a real glass. If they don’t have one, I will suggest (nicely and with a smile and a big, huge compliment for their comfortable seating, numerous outlets and free wireless) that they consider adding a garbage can strictly for recyclables. Maybe with a sign that encourages patrons to recycle.
As we become more conscious of our impact on the planet, and more discerning as customers, businesses will become more aware and responsible as well. They will sell more coffee (or whatever), we will feel better about buying it and the planet will get healthier. Everyone wins.
It’s a little thing, but I feel good about having decided to do it – plant the green seed at my favorite coffee shop. If a lot of people do a lot of little things, we can make a big difference.
So… what little thing will you do?