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Save $1 Off Any Drink With a Reusable Cup

Seven participating cafés around the city make reuse simple

Still paying off that summer vacation? Fall is the perfect time to save money on your favorite drink and also do something positive for the planet. In an effort to reduce the staggering number of single-use cups that fill landfills and litter streets, parks and waterways, Community Action for Sustainable Alameda (CASA) is giving customers $1 off their favorite drink every time they use an OKAPI Reusables cup from September 15 through October 15. The program is a partnership with the City of Alameda, ReThink Disposable, and Alameda High’s Amplify club.

Alameda Post - a costumer stands by the coffee bar at Savoy Island Market and holds her OKAPI cup
Debi Ryan shows off her latte in an OKAPI Reusables cup to go. Island Savoy baristas, Michael and Ben, are enthusiastic about the less-waste option for drinks. Photo Laria Pippen.

The reusable hot and cold cups can now be found in seven Alameda café locations, and customers can save $1 every time they borrow one of the cups to go. Scott Cordle, owner of Mosley’s Café started carrying the cups over the summer and said the response has been good, though he hopes even more customers participate with the $1 off incentive.

“The OKAPI reusable cups are great,” Cordle says. “I love this option for customers on the go, and even for those who want to hang out at the café and then take their drink to go. Eliminating waste from disposable cups and protecting the environment are really important to me. I hope that more people give OKAPI cups a try and make them a new habit.”

Billions of disposable cups are thrown away every year, according to a recent article in Wired, entitled “Sorry, Your Paper Coffee Cup is a Toxic Nightmare.” Every paper or plastic cup saved from the landfill, ocean, and environment is critical; that’s why CASA is incentivizing reusables by offering a dollar off every coffee, tea, juice, boba, smoothie or other prepared café drink ordered in an OKAPI cup. “The more people who adopt reusables, the closer Alameda gets to meeting its zero waste goals,” says Debi Ryan, sustainability advocate and CASA Board President.

It takes approximately 30 minutes to consume a drink on the go. What happens next impacts a lifetime:

  • Only 5% of plastic generated nationwide is actually recycled, the rest goes to landfill, ocean, and environment – this includes disposable cup lids, according to Greenpeace research reported in The Guardian.
  • Paper cups take 30 years to break down in landfill; plastic cups take 450 years, according to research reported in WWF.
  • The plastic lining from “paper” coffee cups leach microplastics into the liquid and release potentially toxic chemicals into the environment if not properly disposed, the Wired report notes.

Participating is convenient and easy. Simply download the app, borrow one or two cups for up to two weeks, and return the cup to any network café in Alameda. Locations include Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden, The Local, Coffee Cultures, Wescafe, Donut Petit, Mosley’s, and Island Savoy. Cafés do the cleaning and sanitizing and customers get a clean cup each time they borrow. It’s a win-win for cafés and consumers, Island Savoy owner, Mike Stevens explains.

“OKAPI is one of those ideas you wonder why someone didn’t think of years ago,” Stevens says. “For the café owner, it is a near effortless way to meet our reusable goals. For the consumer, it solves the ‘I forgot to wash my travel mug’ dilemma.”

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