School of Thought

Oh, do we have thoughts

Coffee With a Purpose

San Franciscans love their coffee. We’re willing to wait in lines 20 people deep. We’ll wait 15 minutes for our (painfully slow) pour-over. We care about how our coffee beans are sourced, roasted and sold. We likely know our baristas by name, and paying $6 for a cup of joe is completely justifiable.

Guilty as charged.

But that means we also use a lot of coffee cups and lids.  And those cups create waste.  Which, in the country’s most environmentally conscious city, is inexcusable.  Disposable cups create 3.5 billion pounds of waste a year, nationwide. Change needs to start here and now.


That’s just what we set out to achieve on behalf of our inspiring client, San Francisco Environment: eliminate—or at least, reduce—waste, by taking a stand for reusable mugs. 

Early this morning, in one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, Justin Herman Plaza, we constructed a booth made of 100% recycled materials.  


Locals, commuters, and visitors alike stream through the plaza throughout the day, quite a few of whom are on their way to buy coffee—in a disposable cup.  

Today, we stopped people in their tracks with an alternative.

Free coffee if they brought their own reusable mug.  That’s it.  Just bring your mug, and we filled it with freshly brewed coffee.

But the reward didn’t stop there.  If they helped us spread the word and advocate for a waste-free city by Tweeting, posting or Instagramming with #SFThingToDo, we gave them a brand new, reusable Cuppow mug. These remarkable mugs come with their own unique koozie and sip lid, both made from recycled plastic. Everything made right here in the United States. Cuppow has been an amazing partner, supporting San Francisco Environment’s efforts by donating their distinctive mugs to the effort at a fraction of the retail cost.


We built it. And the people came. Streaming from their offices with personal mugs in hand to fill up.  Locals stopped by, curious about the cause and passionate about making their home less wasteful.  A flood of Tweets, posts, and Instagrams poured in under the #SFThingTodo hashtag. Many people added words of gratitude for the caffeine pick-me-ups, and shout-outs to fellow San Franciscans to waste less.

Because it’s the #SFThingToDo.

To find out when and where our community coffee event will appear next, stay in touch with @SFEnvironment!