Green Tea

Another example of how trying to do your part to save the environment doesn’t seem to help.

A week or two ago, Gail bought one of those new Tim Horton’s reusable mugs. She figured that she gets at least one (decaf) tea a day when she goes to work, so this would cut down on cups that get thrown away. Sure they get recycled and not just thrown away, but reducing and reusing are still preferred over recycling. Plus Tim’s charges 10 cents less for the tea when you put it in one of these mugs.

When she stopped at Tim Horton’s this morning for her morning tea, she watched what the (attendant? waitress? I refuse to use the idiotic made-up term “barista”) lady was doing. First, she misunderstood the order, so she made a decaf coffee rather than tea. The thing is, she made it in a paper cup, then poured it into the reusable mug, then threw the cup away. When Gail told her that it was supposed to be decaf tea, she apologized, poured the coffee out, and made the tea in another paper cup. Then she poured the tea into the reusable mug and threw the second cup away. Even if we ignore the ordering mistake (which could have been avoided if Tim Horton’s were to use my brilliant idea), she’s using a paper cup, which completely defeats the purpose of having the reusable mug in the first place. When Gail asked about this, she explained that she’s not allowed to put the spoon she uses to stir the tea into the reusable mug, so she mixes the tea, milk, and sugar in a paper cup, then pours it all into the reusable mug once it’s mixed. (I would think that using a disposable wooden stir stick to stir the tea in the reusable mug would be less waste than the cup.) I understand the logic, but if that’s the case, why bother introducing the reusable mugs at all? I suppose if you don’t take anything in your coffee or tea, then there’s no need for stirring and no extra cups would be used. But what percentage of Tim’s customers don’t take any milk or sugar? Just listening to people ahead of me in lines, it seems to me that “double-double” is by far the most popular order.

I also get a tea on my way to work almost every morning, so I was considering getting a reusable mug too. When I heard Gail’s story, my first thought was that I shouldn’t bother, since a cup is getting thrown away for each tea I buy anyway. Then I remembered that I always ask for a second cup, since the tea is too hot for me to hold when I get it, and the second cup insulates it. If I get the reusable mug, it’s insulated anyway, so only one cup gets thrown away instead of two. There. That should put an end to this global warming stuff once and for all. You’re welcome.


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