Cup of life

2014_Daniela Gattoni

Daniela Gattoni, a web developer from Santiago in Chile, wanted to do something very simple in her daily life that would help, in any way, to minimise her impact on the environment.

So she started bringing her own reusable coffee cup to her evening classes at university.

‘When people are studying at night after working all day, they don’t have the energy to do a lot so I had to start with a small effort,’ Daniela says.

In Chile, most workplaces and institutions, including universities, provide only disposable cups for tea and coffee. Daniela believes the best waste is that which is not produced. And so #BringYourCup was born. Together with her colleagues Cristian Venegas, Rodrigo Checa and Alex Soble, Daniela entered #BringYourCup into the 2014 Geeklist #hack4good. The global contest attracted more than 1000 attendees who submitted 152 projects to tackle key climate change challenges. #BringYourCup won the national Chile competition, and went on to gain fourth place in the world.

Daniela says the project centres on a prototype for a reminder app to bring your own reusable cup, and encourages users to post to the twitter #BringYourCup with a selfie. This year the #BringYourCup team hopes to have discussions with the Santiago city council that has expressed interest in working with the project. Last year the city’s environment department initiated a recycling scheme at an annual food and wine festival in September, Daniela says.

‘This is a good challenge for us to work the #BringYourCup app and… make it a bit more official and get more people talking about this simple idea,’ she says.
‘I think to have actions for climate change is important because we’re leaving a place for the next generation who’ll live in this world,’ she says. ‘We as adults can give an example to the children to look after the environment.’

Not all paper cups are recycled. In Australia, paper cups can be recycled. As global carbon advisory firm Carbon Clear states on their website, paper cups have a plastic lining to cope with hot beverages but it’s this very lining that can prevent them from being recycled.  Yet while it takes more energy to create reusable ceramic cups, paper cups create far more carbon emissions because they usually end up in rubbish bins, and end up in landfill where they emit greenhouse gases such as methane while decomposing.

So the message is quite simple: take your reusable cup to work, school, university, wherever. And tell your friends and followers, says Daniela. ‘Take your selfie and use the twitter #BringYourCup, encourage your friends – it’s for the children,’ she says.

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