Coffee in Spain

13 Jan

One cup, no trash.

If you noticed a slow down in articles, I have been in Spain since December 22nd. San Sebastian, then Barcelona this week.

Anyway, each morning I have been getting a coffee from one of the hundreds of what I would call self run ‘mom and pop’ cafes that line both cities’ streets.

Different coffee brands, different bars, different saucers and cups each time. But always these cups seem to have the cafe or coffee company logo on them, and saucers in many cases are branded as well (I have yet to be served a coffee without a saucer). Also the coffee comes with two sugars, which I use, also branded.

This has been the standard procedure since we left the U.S. However yesterday we located a park that did not have a cafe next to it, so I left the kids with my wife and friend and walked around the block for coffee to go from a larger shop.

Wow. Had not got coffee to go for a while. Frankly it was a bit of a shock.

What did I get besides great coffee? Three disposable paper cups, three plastic #5 cup tops, one small bag for each baked good, one bag to hold all three baked goods in their bags, six sugar packets, three paper wrapped plastic stirring rods, and a four holder cardboard tray for the coffees. So coffee plus a lot of trash.

Versus normal waste of three coffees at just six empty sugar packets.

Ok, I understand there is a hidden cost to wash all those ceramic cups and saucers, fuel needed to transport heavier replacement cups as they break, and fuel and other resources to make the cups in the first place. And yes I have zero hard facts to back this up, this is pure conjecture. But good grief, reusing the same cups and saucers day in and day out has got to be less of an impact on the environment, waste footprint, and fuel needs, than all that trash?

Maybe if all the paper is recycled not so. And there are recycle stations – big ones for household waste – on nearly every corner in Barcelona’s residential areas, so that is something the city is aware off. But wow did I feel like a consuming machine with all that trash.

Does anyone have any links to valid papers on to-go cups verses reusable options? This site had a few interesting ideas, and a nice plug for the NOT A PAPER CUP style mug, like the one on AIGM special. Would love to see more.

All comments welcome. Back in U.S. on the 14th. Likely have a few souvenir coffee cups in the luggage, but don’t tell anyone.

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