Twice in one week I've chosen to intervene and help out when someone was going to use Styrofoam cups instead of re-usables. I was always so proud that our choir used ceramic cups when they broke for tea mid-practice, but last week there were Styrofoam cups. The director had been having to wash them, and, rightly, didn't feel like she should have to do that every week. So I committed to taking them home and running them through the dishwasher once a week to prevent all that Styrofoam from going into the landfill.
And today the library where I work 3 hours once a week mentioned that they were out of Styrofoam cups for a get together they are having on Saturday. So I did my usual thing and spoke out against the disposable cups and offered to buy some second hand ones at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop. And I did. Three dozen. THREE DOZEN!! I walked through the door just hoping they'd have a few ugly ones that we could put up with. Well they easily had over 100 cups - and they weren't all ugly. Some of them were, sure, but most of them were perfectly fine. No chips or cracks and even some really pretty ones.
So there they are. $12 worth of cups. Now how much do sytrofoam cups cost? And if you use 20 of them every week, how long would it take to go through $12? But far more importantly, those dozens and dozens of cups would go to the landfill and never decompose. Animals and birds would eat them an my grandchildren's grandchildren would still be dealing the them. One short trip to the Salvation Army, and now we have cups forever (or at least until they get broken. But they won't poison the planet, even if/when they do end up in the landfill).
Thrift stores are a great place to buy cups, plates, silverware, cooking supplies. Before you think of buying single-use plastics (and really you never should), consider re-usable. It doesn't have to be expensive.