Don’t Use A Trashy Cup

Author: Isabel Crews

Art By Julia Messinger

BYOC is simple and sustainable: Bring your own cup!

Sustainability is a word we hear thrown around in CHS, but that’s because it’s important.

On the College of Charleston campus alone, we throw away hundreds of single-use cups in the landfill or contaminate the recycling by tossing them in there. While it’s okay to throw away RINSED single-use cups in recycling, most of the time, there is no place to rinse them, or they aren’t clean enough for the local recycling center. 

So what do we do? Bring our own cups. 

At most colleges and universities, students have water bottles, tumblers, and travel mugs hanging out in their dorms. Most backpacks also have two side pockets for these, so why not bring a water bottle and your other cup for coffee or other drinks? 

If you’ve been in a rush and bought a coffee and used their to-go cups, it’s okay; I’m not trying to shame you. Sustainability requires education and resources, and if you don’t have access to them, why should you be expected to be religiously observing sustainable habits. 

The point of this article is to educate you on one sustainable habit, bringing your own cup, and the benefits of it. By bringing your own cup, you reduce the amount of waste that leaves campus by limiting the contaminated recycling and compost that gets sent to the landfill. In addition, bringing cups for your cold drinks that typically come with straws helps the Skip the Straw Campaign so that they don’t end up in oceans where they could harm aquatic life or build up in the landfill. Changing this one habit might seem like a small impact, but the more people who start bringing their own cups, the bigger the difference it makes.  

What do you get from making this change? You get to say you’re making a difference locally and positively impacting the environment, and you get DISCOUNTS!

Here’s a list of local coffee shops and restaurants that give incentives for bringing your own cup:

Einsteins: $1.19 cup of coffee with a reusable cup

Starbucks: At Addlestone, it’s 56 cents for regular or iced coffee and 10 cents off other drinks

Panera: $1.19 travel refill for any size cup

Caviar & Bananas: 25¢ discount

Gnome Cafe: 10% discount 

The Rise: Cup and 10% student discount 






What about the places that aren’t giving discounts? What are they doing? 

HuriYali is having a conversation about sustainable practices for their cafe. 

The Daily is working on an incentive program and figuring out how to get people to bring their own cups. 

Second State is looking towards sustainable solutions and possibly creating a line of Second State mugs. 

The moral of the story is that the campus community and the greater Charleston community are recognizing the significance of bringing your own cups by giving discounts and recognition for people supporting BYOC. So why not bring yours? Be the change and grab your tumblers!


About the author:

Isabel Crews is studying International Studies, French, and Communication at the College. Her endeavors with Zero Waste at her high school and her passion for sustainability led her to the Center for Sustainable Development. She volunteered as a Bonner Leader Assistant and later took the Editorial Content Intern role during the Summer of 2020. As the current Editorial Content Intern, she hopes to continue learning about sustainability and coordinating events to educate and engage the greater campus community. She also hopes to inspire others to live sustainably and get involved in the campus and the Charleston community. Outside of her involvement at the Center for Sustainable Development, Isabel spends her time volunteering with Bonner, discussing social justice, writing articles for Her Campus, exploring Charleston with her friends, and biking throughout the city.