Sippy cups still murder turtles

Alex McLean

In the summer of 2019, Starbucks introduced plastic lids to replace the plastic straws the company previously used. Shortly after, Augustana’s Brew by The Slough followed suit. Apparently in an effort to cut down on plastic waste, the company noted the plastic consumption to be less than the previous lid and straw.

However, several news outlets including K5, an NBC affiliate, found the new cup to have more plastic than the previous in terms of weight. They found that this type of plastic used was indeed “less toxic” to the environment.

I find this to be semantical in the grand scheme, there is still more plastic being used, thus more waste overall as we all know they aren’t reusing the cups. Instead of primarily “saving the turtles” by cutting down on straws, should the school, and the student populous, in fact be more focused on this increased output of plastic?

Even status-post Augustana’s Climate Strike, it seems no new policies have been put in place and ever-clearer the school’s disregard for the environment takes shape. However, this also falls on the students as well. While “saving the turtles” is a noble cause, also notes that plastic, in general, not only plastic straws, is detrimental to these animals. While cutting down on straw use generally would improve upon the overall consumption, adding the extra plastic from the change in cups definitely counteracts this.

“There’s obviously going to be more waste [with the new lids] and thus [it will] be more detrimental to the environment,” Junior and environmental science student, Benjamin Castro said. K5 also made the notion that these lids were “flimsier” than the previous makeup.

Using plastic, in general, will be damaging to the earth. It doesn’t matter how much is used, and it certainly doesn’t matter that the straw was replaced with a lid, the turtles will still be hurt by a damaged earth.

Augustana needs to make it better known that students can use their own stainless-steel cups and mugs. The Brew could even make it the regular, by no longer having cups for easy access and noting to everyone who purchases a plastic cup that it would be cheaper to bring your own.

By bringing your own cup to The Brew, you can purchase a large coffee for the same price as a medium coffee; at Starbucks you still get charged by size but with a discount. Essentially, it’s overall cheaper to purchase coffee with your own mug. You can save both the turtles and the earth.

Augustana does not have a good environmental awareness track record. Fortunately, many clubs and groups on campus have begun to make climate awareness a weekly event. The students who aren’t so involved can make a change by just switching to metal and reusable containers. It is possible to save money and the turtles.