Reuse refers to any activity that lengthens the life of an item. It can be accomplished through purchasing durable goods and keeping valuable materials out of the waste stream. Unlike recycling, reuse does not require reprocessing of an old item into a new product. Therefore, it greatly reduces the amount of energy consumed by manufacturing and transport.“It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, shape it appropriately, truck it to a store, buy it, and bring it home is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash the spoon when you are done with it.”
According to the Earth Policy Institute, each year, 29 billion plastic water bottles are produced for use in the United States. Manufacturing them requires the equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil. Many would say that plastic bottles are recyclable, but water bottles in the recycling bin have a long journey ahead of them. First, they are inspected in a collection facility for contaminants. Then, they are washed and chopped into flakes. The flakes are dried and melted into plastic lava, which is filtered and finally shaped into new products. Sure, recycling a plastic water bottle is convenient for you at the College but, the carbon footprint is much less for a reusable water bottle.
IC dining recognizes and rewards the power of reuse. A study by Starbucks in 2000 calculated that the average paper-based coffee cup produced 0.24 lb of CO2. Disposable cups not only contribute directly to the creation of a greenhouse gas but also a lot of waste. One cup per day results in 23 lb of waste by the end of the year, just from the cups that are thrown away. They cannot be recycled because of the plastic coating on the inside of the paper.
By bringing your own reusable cup to any of our locations, you save 15 cents on a hot beverage and reduce your carbon footprint. That is a free cup of coffee after 10 purchases with a reusable mug. Keep calm and carry a cup!!