I must confess I was once a daily “to-go” coffee drinker for many, many years. When I worked in the corporate world I would purchase two Starbucks Venti-sized drinks daily. Yikes! The waste I was responsible for adding to the environment weighed heavily on me with each purchase. I did my best not to think about it but it was always on my mind; somewhere in there. If I were truthful I was always aware of my behaviour and this wasteful purchase but the habit remained habit. Besides getting me outside the office for a break to walk away from the madness I wanted a superior cup of coffee as a treat or a reward I felt deserving. This is what I would tell myself to ease the pain of truth and awareness and potential change in my behaviour to stop buying take-out beverages.
Another time I was guilty of beverage take-out occurred when I tried to quit consuming coffee altogether. I decided that by purchasing it outside and bringing it home this would help me to one day stop completely. This idea flopped big time and so began the accumulation of take-out waste receptacles namely, coffee sleeves.
I live across the street from a large suburban shopping mall and I would actually get in my car three flights down from my apartment suite, drive over to the mall, park, enter the shopping mall, wait in line and take home two coffees for me and Mel. Besides a huge time waster just imagine the unnecessary pollution I added to my world by driving for such a frivolous reason. I’m ashamed to admit this but it’s the truth. With time and perspective and necessity I ended up brewing coffee at home. I didn’t quit which is a behaviour I probably won’t ever change. I’ve been trying to quit since 1996! I submit to coffee, as a comfort I need; at least for the time being.
During my spurts of take-out coffee purchasing I tried to ease my guilty conscience of the waste I was producing and collected the coffee sleeves promising to create art from them one day.
As a way of re-using and up-cycling the sleeves I have created several projects. I know I am not lessening waste in any way because of re-use in art. It's waste I have already created by consuming a product. But the way I think as a creative person is that at the very least I haven’t purchased new paper supplies and therefore bringing home more consumer packaging.
I submitted more than 10 coffee sleeve kit ideas to GreenCraft Magazine in June of 2014, and my Coffee Sleeve art will be published, along with my article, in the Spring 2016 GreenCraft issue.
Why not get out your stamps, corral your little necessities and join me and make some of these funky fun kits to clear up some of the clutter around your home. Store them where they are easily accessible like your purse or glove compartment, or your gym bag. Create theme styled kits for party favours. The sky’s the limit when you start creating these little kits and maybe just maybe a few of these sleeves will be re-stored to a new life and stay out of the landfill for a while longer.