retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

From Fast Company: "If you buy a cup of coffee to go at Babette Café in Berkeley, California, later this month, you might not be able to get it in a disposable cup. The owners have one case of compostable cups left, and aren’t planning to buy more. Instead, anyone who doesn’t have a reusable mug of their own - and doesn’t want to stay in the café - can use an app to borrow a gleaming stainless steel mug from a stack on the counter.

"The café is one of nine locations in the city to pilot Vessel, a system that lets customers check out a free mug, like a library book, and then drop it off at any of the other participating locations, where it will be collected, washed, and returned. Vessel, a startup that also operates in Boulder, Colorado, will soon launch a similar pilot in San Francisco."

The story notes that new laws and rules governing the use of single use items - from bags to straws, plates to cups - are creating business opportunities for companies like Vessel, which isn't making money yet but is ahead of projections when it comes to adoption by cafes.

I have to be honest here. I'm not sure that I'd want to use one of these cafes' reusable cups, simply because I'm not entirely confident about the whole washing thing. But … and maybe this is part of the point … these policies would probably encourage me to bring my own mug to the coffee shop.

I don't do it now. I don't even think about it. But part of what these changing laws and resultant policy changes do is impact how we all think about things. We consider stuff that we never considered before. We develop habits that we never had before. And the result can be less crap out there that fouls a planet that seems increasingly fragile.

It can be an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: