Oftentimes, specific language develops to draw attention to what is happening in society. In 2018, when seeking the most poignant terms which have entered our communication over the past year, the good people at Macquarie Dictionary gave honourable mention to a term which at once highlights a problem and also gives its solution. Single-use is defined as ‘intended for disposal after only one use’. The implication of which is ‘what are we going to do about it?’
The term single-use is a reflection of the type of society we have become: a convenience-based model which produces more and more waste at phenomenal rates. Similar to throw-away society, the concept of single-use makes us ponder how we can extend on that one use. How can we re-use? The problem is big, but as with many big problems, it needs to be tackled in do-able parts, with the onus on us all to do the best we can.
One area in which we can make a shift from our single-use habits is through limiting or eradicating take-away coffee cups and on-the-go single-use plastic drink bottles. On any given day, you will see numerous people out and about with these in hand: their availability is ubiquitous. The cumulative effect of the waste is environmentally devastating.
But why expect change in legislation to alter our behaviour when we can volunteer to change our consumption habits in positive ways (and along the way model this behaviour to kids)? More and more people are cottoning on to how they can contribute to the solution and bring along their own reusable coffee cups, drink bottles or even food containers (for take-away food).
And of course, there is an element of aesthetics, sustainability, functionality, good design and longevity that we also like to enjoy and feel good about when bringing our own containers along. Thankfully, there is a growing selection of really good options to choose from: for anyone from fitness buffs carrying water, those who take their coffees or shakes on the go, to childrens lunch and beverage containers, many of which have a thermal option which keeps beverages and food hot or cold for longer. And if they look and feel great, there’s all the more incentive to bring them and use them! Check out range offered by Klean Kanteen
There are many other ways in which, bit by bit, habit by habit, we can volunteer to lessen our convenience a little for greater overall gains, and for your own good conscience that you are doing your bit. Whatever that bit is. If you are a-coffee-a-day person who gets takeaway coffee, just picture the 365 coffee cups and plastic caps which are not finding their way into landfill or require additional time, effort, money and energy to be recycled.
My own take-away coffee cup was inspired by watching an elderly couple bring their own stylish-looking cups to a café van, accompanied by their grandkids—which symbolises the act of respect for future generations. It’s a little something to feel good about.