5 Ways to Reuse Paper Coffee Cups
It’s a fact, the majority of us love coffee. It’s the potion that gets us up in the morning and keeps us going throughout the day. One of the great things about living and working in New York City is the constant availability of coffee everywhere we go. Coffee stands, coffee carts, coffee trays, all offering paper cups of coffee with plastic lids. Translation: A lot of disposable coffee cups thrown away every year.
The Betacup challenge is a movement founded in May 2009 to reduce the number of non-recyclable cups that are thrown away every year by creating a more eco friendly alternative to the paper coffee cup. Watch this shocking video about the amount of waste caused by disposable coffee cups each year, and get inspired to drink sustainably.
The best choice is to use a refillable travel cup instead of paper cups, but if you find yourself with paper cups, here are five ways to reuse them.
Sphere lamp: (Level: Difficult)
Collect paper cups and use them to make an orb-shaped lamp shade by following this tutorial from Instructables. It’s difficult, but it’s not necessary to be a professional electrician in order to complete this project. The end result is an amazing looking lamp that resembles a designer piece.
Garland of lights (Level: Medium)
A string of fairy lights is a festive decoration for outdoor and indoor parties and special occasions. Use your leftover paper coffee cups as mini lamp shades for the lights on a string. To do it, just decorate and cut the paper cups so they are shorter and will allow the lights to shine through. Poke a hole in the bottom of each cup and stick one light in the hole in each cup. This easy tutorial walks you through it step by step.
Planters: (Level: Easy)
Grow your own herbs or seedlings in leftover coffee cups. It’s simple to create planters out of paper cups. Start by poking holes into the bottom of the cup using a pen or pencil. Fill the cup with potting soil and plant your seeds. Slip a small plate under the cup and water as instructed. When the seedling grows, you can transfer it to the ground and start a new seedling in your coffee cup planter.
Shred it for your indoor compost: (Level: Easy)
Paper cups are great for the dry matter that’s needed in your compost. Instead of shredding newspaper, leaves or sawdust, shred your used paper coffee cups and add it to the compost.
Party Cups (Level: Easy)
A decorated paper cup makes a beautiful and unique party glass. Wash and dry it completely, then use paint, decoupage, or glitter to decorate the cup. The creative editors at Real Simple show you how to create elegant but fun glassware using paper cups and stickers here.
What do you do with used paper coffee cups? Are you swearing off them entirely and sticking to your travel cup? Share your creative ways to reuse paper cups with us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.