If people sit and observe the students ebbing and flowing through the never-ending Starbucks line in Payson Library, they notice how many coffee orders begin to pile up at the pick-up bar. In between unfinished readings for HUM 111 and crying through Physics homework, students grab their order and go back into the library to study.
The combination of caffeination and academics being confined to one building provides an opportunity for Pepperdine to push the necessity of sustainable practices within the student body.
Because students often retreat with their coffee into the depths of the library, the question must be asked — why does Pepperdine not have reusable mugs anywhere on campus? There are no washable, ceramic mugs for students to use and then return when they are finished with their drink. The sole option of single use cups creates an enormous amount of unnecessary waste when students are already staying within the vicinity of Starbucks.
With sustainability in mind, the option to order a drink in a reusable cup instead of plastic or paper will both cut down on single use waste and encourage students to keep eco-friendly alternatives at the forefront of their minds.
This both invites students to engage in mindful stewardship over our campus and removes the barrier of needing to remember your own reusable cup. Margaret Morales is a policy analyst with the Sightline Institute and conducts research under the areas of climate & energy, democracy, sustainable living and more. She writes that fewer than 2% of coffee drinkers bring their own mugs because of the inconvenience of carrying it around.
While many Pepperdine students already bring their own containers and play an important role in their own sustainable practices, the option to have mugs readily available makes the choice even simpler.
Research in the UK on coffee consumer waste shows that reusable cups will significantly cut down waste with sustainability implementation such as distribution of free reusable cups and a tax on single-use cups. The implementation of this, however, is dependent on Starbucks and their ability to comply on a corporate level.
At a campus level, one can look at an added necessity of adding reusable mugs for coffee in the Waves Cafe. This implementation is based solely on Pepperdine’s willingness to contribute a new and sustainable alternative to our dining services. There are currently reusable cups for soft drinks and water available for those eating in. Because many students eat their meals in the Caf rather than taking it to go, mugs would be a strong addition to the recently remodeled Waves Cafe.
It is essential to be active participants in making our campus a better place to live, to work, and to be in community. Bringing reusable mugs and being conscious of waste reduction is a great place to start. This is an important issue our community should bring to the attention of the Pepperdine Administration via petitions for Starbucks mugs on campus or expressing concern through the members of the Student Government Association. This campus is our home, and it is essential to advocate for its sustainable practices.
Email Lexi Scanlon: firstname.lastname@example.org