I Have a Reusable Coffee Sleeve
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I wonder if there are times when an arch conservative, perhaps leaving a gun show with another brand new AR-15 to add to the arsenal in his basement tucked under his arm, walks back to his pick up truck with a “Hillary For Prison 2016” bumper sticker and right before he hops up into the cab to crank the Rush Limbaugh he just catches himself and thinks, “Gee whiz, will you look at me? Man, I really am conservative.”

Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately on the other end of the spectrum every time I hand a coffee shop employee my reusable coffee sleeve. No thank you, sir or madame, save that coffee sleeve. I have my own. Let’s love mother earth.

As if it weren’t enough to be a Park Slope liberal who composts and takes public transit and walks with his canvas bags down to Whole Foods to buy quinoa and kale, I now have a reusable coffee sleeve. Yes, I have taken it upon myself not to waste precious cardboard every time I get coffee.

I’m the only person I know that does this. I wasn’t aware of any data regarding the wastefulness of coffee sleeves at Starbucks and Pret a Manger before I started but I’m guessing I have lifetimes to go before I can claim that I saved so much as a tree branch.

I bought it on impulse one day at the Whole Foods coffee station. It has a little tag on it that says, “Africa Made.” You read that right. I bought my Africa Made reusable coffee sleeve at the Gowanus Whole Foods.

Bear in mind, when I get coffee I still get the cup (made from non-recycled paper and lined with a plastic substance making it non-biodegradable) and the plastic lid. But captain planet saver has reduced waste by forgoing the coffee sleeve.

This is real.

Printed on the inside of the coffee sleeve is this: “Creating jobs and empowering women, this reusable coffee sleeve is handmade in Maai Mahiu, Kenya.” Empowering women. Yes. My reusable coffee sleeve empowers women! Take your cardboard coffee sleeves back, Patriarchy, I’m giving women a seat at the table.

Here’s the funny part, though, now that I’ve started using it, I can’t justify stopping. I usually drink two cups of coffee a day, the sleeve fits in my back pocket, and if I ever catch myself without it, I feel wasteful. It’s a small change (a really really small change) but it feels kind of good to have made it. When I hand it over to baristas, they usually approve (only one so far stared at me as if I had handed her a herring).

So, the next time you’re at a phone bank for moveon.org and extolling the virtues of veganism to the lone hold out ovo-lacto vegetarian in the room, ask yourself if you could be doing more. Do you have your reusable coffee sleeve?

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