How to Get ‘Mugged,’ the Green Way

by Sarah Alyse Wilson
Contributing Writer

Sitting in my classes these past few weeks I have noticed one thing: there are, on average, three plastic water bottles, two soda cans and one disposable coffee cup in each room. I have counted, at the most, two reusable containers in the room at one time. What’s wrong with this picture? So much waste is generated through the packaging of the products we consume that could be easily prevented.

According to, it can take that paper cup two to five months to decompose, those two aluminum soda cans will be around for 500 years and the plastic bottles will take 250 years to decompose. Some sources even claim that plastic bottles may never fully break down.

When you think about the fact that a drink that takes you just a few moments of your life to enjoy will leave a mark on this earth for several months or even several lifetimes, it’s a lot to swallow. So what can you do about it? Well, the answer is simple: buy reusable drink containers to keep you hydrated. There are several options right within walking distance.

The Transylvania Bookstore has both reusable water bottles and travel mugs. They offer Nalgenes with the school name on them in a variety of colors for around $16 (these are #7 plastics). Also, there are smaller BPA-free bottles with the school name for just $10. They also offer $6 bottles, but I do not recommend these because they are #1 plastics which are intended for onetime use. The mug selection also has school spirit. Mugs with handles cost $13 and those without cost only $10.

The Starbucks coffee shop across from Triangle Park is also a great emissions-free way of getting your hands on some cool items. Starbucks has a wide selection of travel mugs that is always changing. There are even metal options so that you don’t have to worry about any chemical seeping into your morning picker-upper from plastic. If you’re looking for something more stylish, they have #5 plastic travel mugs ranging from $11-$15 and my favorites are the ones made from #7, 28 percent recycled plastic that come in three sizes and with a free drink from $9-$11. Finally, Starbucks carries two kinds of water bottles by Ethos, a company that uses 10 percent of its profits to provide clean water to children all over the world. The #7 plastic bottle is $10 and the durable stainless steel ones are $16. I love the stainless steel bottles because they are so easy to keep clean, are plastic free, and look really cool.

You can still get great tasting water by using a filter and it is, in most cases, cleaner than what you would buy pre-bottled (think of all the money you will save). Also, some coffee places, including Starbucks, will give you a discount for using travel mugs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: