Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This post is not really about today but tomorrow: the day the media insists on calling “Black Friday.” I’m choosing instead to honor “Buy Nothing Day.” And to celebrate Buy Nothing Day, I am not going to replace my lost travel mug. And I’m not just going to wait until Saturday to replace it either. Here’s a little background…
This was my travel mug. Nice, huh? Stainless steel outside and in. Yeah, some plastic, which at this point seems to be inevitable with travel mugs. I lost it a few weeks ago and have been carrying a big ceramic mug with me, which is not so practical since it has no top and could be easily broken. But this is not the first travel mug I’ve lost. I lost the previous one, which looked exactly like this, back in October of 2008. I’d had it for about a year.
See, I lose things. A few years ago, I left an iPod in the back seat of a taxi cab. I left a camera tripod on BART and then retrieved it from the lost and found, only to lose it again in the San Francisco airport on the same day. I have lost more umbrellas than I can count. I lost $40 in an ATM once when I walked away without taking my cash with me. And I lost my camera at the Oakland Earth Expo when I set it down on a table and found it gone a few minutes later. But the thing I miss the most, still to this day, was a homemade lunch I had packed for work containing the leftovers of a delicious pasta with broccoli-pine nut pesto. Maybe it wasn’t that great. But after watching the BART train pull away with my lunch on it, I remember it longingly as the best meal I’d ever made.
I know I’ve lost many more things. But losing this travel mug reminded me of an article I read a while back comparing the manufacturing impact of various types of cups: stainless steel, ceramic, and disposable Styrofoam, titled, “Ask Pablo: The Coffee Mug Debacle.” After going through a whole bunch of calculations that I don’t completely understand, the author asserts that you would need to use a stainless steel mug at least 369 times to make it less resource intense than the disposable cup. And you would have to use a ceramic mug 46 times. I’m sure I didn’t use that mug 369 times. I’d have had to use it every day, which I didn’t.
(I don’t know what the comparison would be with a paper cup rather than Styrofoam, but the short film For the Price of a Cup of Coffee, which I watched on an Earth Cinema CircleDVD [see disclosure at bottom] a few nights ago has me committed more than ever to refusing paper cups.)
So, a few mornings ago, waking up at 4am and unable to go back to sleep, I had the brilliant idea to follow No Impact Man’s lead and repurpose a glass pasta sauce jar instead. The trouble was, I’d need some kind of cozy to keep from burning my hands from hot beverages. No problem. My sleep-addled brain decided to create one right then and there from the sleeve of an old sweater. I added a strap to keep it from slipping out of my hands. Then, I went back to sleep.
Sadly, in the bright light of day, the cozy didn’t seem like the brilliant idea I’d thought it was at 4am. I should have covered the bottom to cushion and insulate the jar. Michael took one look and said I should have just used an old tube sock instead of cutting up a sweater. I’d have to agree.
And then, he remembered that a while back, he’d found and brought home an actual bottle cozy, one with a pocket for my jar lid as well as a strap to slip my hand through. Yes, it’s synthetic fabric: not something I would buy new. But this cozy is used. Michael found it on the street. Some other unfortunate soul had lost theirs so we could use it. So here it is. My new travel mug and cozy. RobJ posted on his blog a while back about how to add a sipping hole to the lid. But I think I’d rather be able to close the jar completely and avoid spillage.
I hope the people who found my lost things make as good use of them as I will. Especially the person who found my lunch. Nom nom nom.
Anyway, happy Buy Nothing Day. I won’t be blogging again until next week because turning off our computers is part of the BND fun.
(Now, I wonder if I’ll be able to reattach the sleeve of that old sweater.)