Flash-back to Father’s Day 2010…my significant other opened his gift to find…a coffee cup. But it wasn’t just any coffee cup. This one looked like a disposable, white paper coffee cup, like the kind you find at pretty much every coffee shop, chain or independent, in Portland. Yet, upon closer look, you’ll see that it’s ceramic with a rubbery lid designed to look like a disposable plastic lid. A few cafes and boutiquey stores sell them these days, including Ristretto Roasters, and most coffee shops will take 10 or more cents off your order if you use your own cup.

Flash-forward to end of 2010, and said hubby and coffee drinker estimates he saved approximately 120 paper cups using his look-alike container. Apparently, that’s 120 saved vs the 23 billion coffee cups that were thrown away in 2010, according to this rather sobering, yet colorful, chalkboard message at the Starbucks on SE Hawthorne (which I snapped over the holidays while running in to cash in a gift card to buy a sandwich for my kid). If you want to know more about what Starbucks is or isn’t doing to solve the diposable cup dilemma, I recommend this excellent, mind-numbing feature from November’s Fast Company.

My favorite reusable cup story actually happened a couple years ago on a business trip to Seattle. On my way back to Portland, I stopped at Caffe Vita, a really nice-tasting coffee out of Seattle, at their downtown Olympia store. The dread-locked guy in front of me handed the barista his glass Mason canning jar and ordered a coffee to go, while the business-woman behind me muttered, “Only in Olympia.” Or Portlandia.

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