Using less plastic: a constant struggle

It’s actually warm today (lucky me!) so I decided to be adventurous in the cafe and order an iced latte instead of a hot one.

I always specify “sitting in” (in every cafe I visit) so the baristas know to serve my drink in an actual cup, not a paper or plastic take away one. I ran to the toilet and when I returned, I was surprised to find my latte in a plastic cup, complete with a plastic lid and straw. I told the barista my drink was for here but she explained that all iced beverages come in plastic cups, no matter if you are sitting in or taking it away.

I was upset because I try my best to avoid single-use cups because they’re incredibly wasteful and unnecessary, but I didn’t take it out on the barista. It wasn’t her fault that this cafe only uses plastic cups for cold beverages. I still explained to her that next time I’ll just order a hot latteย since I don’t want to use plastic. She apologised and I could tell she genuinely felt bad about it.

I have daily struggles with reducing the amount of plastic I use. Today is a perfect example of a situation out of my control. I didn’t know iced lattes only come in plastic cups before ordering one today. And once the cup is filled, there’s nothing else I can do besides recycle it. Asking the barista to pour my latte into another cup reserved for hot beverages wouldn’t make sense since they would just toss the plastic cup into a bin anyway.

My options are to skip the iced lattes at this cafe and only order hot ones, bring my own re-useable cup or glass, or skip visiting this cafe altogether since there are other cafes in Dundee which offer real cups and glasses for sitting in.

I emailed this cafe and explained what happened today. I didn’t complain but I wanted the owners to know how disappointed I am, and how it doesn’t make sense to serve beverages in single-use plastic cups if the customers are sitting in. Who knows, if enough people speak up about this issue, maybe the cafe will change. It doesn’t hurt to try and spread some awareness!

Do you have any tips for reducing plastic?

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