Iced Coffee & Tea, Zero Waste Style

So far, this summer has looked like this: watching fireflies on an evening walk, eating berries my friend picked in her neighborhood, working in the evenings but with the windows open and music on, heading out of the city for a few weekends to rest and reset. And, of course, summer has also looked like this: trying hard to avert my gaze as trash cans in my neighborhood pile up with plastic Starbucks cups, each with the ubiquitous green straw poking out and the dregs of half-melted ice cubes still wilting in the bottom.

I'm not knocking the occasional emergency beverage. I think most zero waste folks can name a time when they were caught unexpectedly sans water bottle and had to accept a plastic cup (I know I can. The friend sitting across from me as I write this can, too). Buuut, being prepared to get a zero waste icy drink isn't something on many people know is a possibility, and I think we can change that.

Here's how we do iced coffee or tea around here: we might get it in a real glass and sip on it at the coffee shop, sans straw. We might bring a thermos to the coffee shop and ask the barista nicely to fill it up. Or, we might make it at home and drink it from a glass, metal straw clinking as we reach for another sip.

The closest you can get to a pure Starbucks-type iced coffee or tea experience is, I think, a little kit the one pictured above - a reusable thermos and reusable straw tucked in your pocket or purse or under your arm as you head to the coffee shop. In fact, I'd go as far as to say the zero waste version of the experience is the superlative one. I can vouch for the fact that a thermos like the Klean Kanteen picture above keeps ice, well, icy overnight and well into the next day, as long as the lid is kept firmly closed. This makes for a more refreshing, less-watered down beverage - which is, of course, is the summer ideal.

A little more on this tip here, if you'd like to see.