The Wesleyan Argus | Middletown Launches Coffee Cup Passport Program

c/o Refill, Not Landfill Coffee Cup Passport Program

c/o Refill, Not Landfill Coffee Cup Passport Program

The City of Middletown launched the Refill, do not landfill Coffee Cup Passport program on Thursday, July 21 to reduce the waste of disposable coffee cups. Interested users can participate in the program by pledging to use a reusable coffee cup from one of the program’s six coffee shops by Monday, October 31. Reusable coffee cups were distributed at participating locations while supplies last. Each time the cup is refilled at a participating store, a stamp is added to a “passport” (which is similar to a punch ticket). Once five stamps are collected, the participant will be entered into a monthly raffle.

Six coffee shops along Route 9 are participating as of this article’s publication: Perk on Main, located at 368 Main St., Middletown; Story & Soil, located inside the RJ Julia Wesleyan Bookstore at 413 Main St., Middletown; Perkatory Roasters, located at 725 Main St., Middletown; Klekolo World Coffee, located at 181 Court St., Middletown; Essex Coffee, located at 51 Main St., Essex; and Brew Bakers, located at 169 Main St., Middletown.

“It’s been very popular,” Kim O’Rourke, recycling coordinator for Middletown, wrote in an email to The Argus. “The idea is that customers get used to using reusable cups.”

O’Rourke explained that the goal of the program is to reduce waste as disposal capacity in Connecticut declines, especially after the closure of the waste incinerator of the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority in Hartford in July due to high costs. O’Rourke emphasized that the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimates that New England’s available landfill space may decrease by 40% between 2020 and 2026.

See also  10 Hidden Fall Gem Destinations in the US

Connecticut is facing a garbage disposal crisis,” O’Rourke wrote in an email to The Argus. “Single-use waste represents a large part of what is thrown away. Plus, much of it is used for such a short period of time!

O’Rourke reiterated the City’s commitment to advancing new sustainability efforts with innovative concepts.

“We need a new approach,” O’Rourke wrote. “Middletown is working on creative solutions to address this issue. One way to do this is to educate the public about waste and get them to reconsider using single-use items.”

The program was funded by a grant from the Rockfall Foundation, a nonprofit organization located in Middletown, CT, dedicated to supporting the conservation of natural resources and promoting education about environmental sustainability.

“The mission of The Rockfall Foundation (TRF) is to promote and support environmental education and conservation in the Lower Connecticut River Valley.” the Rockwall Foundation website reads “We envision a healthy and happy quality of life for all, achieved through wise environmental stewardship, environmental planning and education, and the experience of a meaningful connection with nature now and for future generations.”

One hurdle for the show has been the COVID-19 pandemic according to O’Rourke. The initiative was interrupted before it started by the pandemic and, therefore, has only been able to get going this year.

“There was some confusion during COVID, so we wanted to let people know that it’s okay to use your own cup and try to elevate the conversation around single-use and reusable items,” O’Rourke wrote.

According to Brew Bakers manager Philipp Aigner, the program has grown in popularity over the months since its inception.

See also  More than a fifth of all tourist beds are now contracted to the state for refugees and others, says report

They asked us if we would like to join the show and we thought that was a great idea so we did,” Aigner wrote in an email to The Argus. “It started off slow, but it’s gotten more popular.”

The October raffle prize for the Coffee Cup Passport program is a picnic bag filled with reusable items from ReBoot Eco, a sustainability-focused home goods store in Middletown.

Now that they’ve dipped their toes in the water for reusable beverages, the City of Middletown plans to partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expand its sustainability profile.

“The city received a grant from the EPA to pilot reusable takeout containers and we hope to roll out that program this fall,” O’Rourke wrote. “We hope that these efforts will help us create a more sustainable world. [reusable] takeout system for Middletown restaurants.”

Finally, O’Rourke thanked everyone who has participated and will participate in the program. He is hopeful that the continued use of reusable cups will help offset the rise of single-use cups.

“We appreciate all the support we have received for this program and hope that customers will continue to use their reusable cups after the program ends,” O’Rourke wrote.

Aris Dashiell can be contacted at [email protected].

Leave a Comment