Dear Starbucks, we love your new-and-improved-no-spill-stainless-steel-reusable coffee mug. However, we would like to offer you a bit of advice from the Inhabiteam. We think you could take this holiday gift to the next level by incorporating a built-in barcode into your beautiful reusable mugs that would function like a pre-paid gift card. Picture this: Starbucks guests love gift cards, especially during this festive season. As strong supporters of your endeavors to go 100% reusable or recyclable by 2015, we think this fresh, innovative element could truly boost the sales of your reusable travel mugs and moreover, influence a change in your clients’ lifestyles. If you want to use your gift card money, you have to bring your reusable mug! This could transform many of our daily routines – which is what really needs to happen to reduce the number of cups generated as waste every day.

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Cups — in the paper/throwaway form — are convenient, no doubt. However, as a team of caffeine fiends, we at Inhabitat are constantly reminded of consumption in the grab-and-go style, as the overflowing trash bin has become far too familiar. According to a study done by the Environmental Defense Fund and published on Sustainability is Sexy, the number of disposable cups projected to be thrown out in 2010 is 23 billion. Really? Umm…this is disgusting. In addition, these cups are generally made with only a portion of recycled paper and laminated with a plastic resin; this means it takes much longer for them to decompose and when that resin does break down, it releases a greenhouse gas.

We don’t mean to preach, but next time you buy a cup of joe in your local café, ask for a ceramic mug; if you are one of those “on-the-run” people like us, invest in your own reusable one. It’ll even save you a buck or two in the end, since most coffee shops reduce the price of your caffeine kick when you bring your own mug.

+ Starbucks