Get A Mug, Save A Polar Bear


By Jeremy Cornelius

As part of a new column supplied by everyone’s favorite friends of the forest on the corner of Clary and Church, we in OEC would like to contribute to increasing sustainable practices on campus by offering a helpful weekly article for improving your interaction with the environment, both on our campus and on the planet. We’ve only got one planet after all, gotta preserve it somehow, so start small and make efforts when possible to sustain the environment by recycling, reducing waste and applying alternative solutions to consumption and waste production on campus. If you have any questions about environmental involvement on campus, feel free to email lists@oec.beloit.edu.  

Many may not know that behind the bagels, coffee and donuts in Java Joint, there is a shelf full of mugs for students’ usage. Plenty of work went into getting the mugs to reduce waste on campus as part of a student-led project established by Taylor Bixby ’10. As mugs began to mysteriously disappear from Java Joint, Bert Connelly ’13, Zoe Matthews ’13 and Emily Johnson ’13 started an RA project to supply the joint with more mugs.

Whenever you decide to plop down in Java Joint and read for class or hang out with friends, go up to the counter and ask if you can get your hot coffee in a mug, and also save ten cents, which may not sound like much, but it makes a big difference when you might be ten cents over and really crave an extra vegetable cream cheese with your bagel.

If you have to sprint off to class, then you can bring your own travel mug or buy a BSC travel mug for only $1, a steal to prevent a little bit more waste and keep a polar bear from having to cruise around on a chunk of ice to survive due to global warming. According to a study, reported in “Our World 2.0,” produced by the United Nations University Media Centre, each paper cup, including the paper sleeve, shipping and production emits about 0.11 kilograms of CO2. Save that polar bear from global warming!

In past years, students have attempted class projects to reduce paper cup waste in Java Joint and DKs, successfully getting the blue BSC mugs in Java Joint. In 2007, former students Kate Burman, Ted Gault, Kira Harvey and Audrey Landale attempted “Reducing Paper Cup Use at Beloit College” for Pablo Toral’s class Global Political Ecology. Their goal was “to educate the campus and promote positive social change regarding paper cup usage.”

Unfortunately, they never reached an estimate of campus paper waste because food services does not keep those records throughout the year. Just guesstimate.

Courtesy of ourworld.unu.edu/en/ and “Environmental Activism on Campus: projects developed  and implemented by students in POLS 255 Global Political Ecology in Fall 2007”



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