Disposable Coffee Cups Are Now Banned in Scotland's Government Buildings

iStock
iStock

Scottish legislators used to drinking from paper coffee cups will have to tweak their morning routine, thanks to a new rule passed by the government. As Resource reports, single-use coffee containers are officially banned from Scotland's main government buildings.

Instead of handing out hot drinks in disposable to-go cups, the cafes in Scottish parliament offices will now serve coffee in reusable ceramic mugs. Government officials will also have the option to bring their own travel mugs from home.

The Scottish government says it won't take long for the new rule to make a difference. Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said in a statement, "By removing single-use coffee cups from our main buildings, we will prevent 450,000 cups from being thrown away every year. That's enough cups to cover the distance between Edinburgh and Dundee."

The change comes after the European Union announced plans to phase out the single-use plastic products most likely to show up on beaches. The EU cited plastic food containers and drink cups as some of the worst offenders, and called on member states to give consumers the option to use alternative products like reusable cups, or to charge them extra for choosing disposable.

While monitoring the success of the coffee cup ban, the Scottish government will be looking into getting rid of even more single-use materials by the end of the year.

[h/t Resource]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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prAna and Other Apparel Brands Are Starting a Movement for Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging looks good on this sweater.
Sustainable packaging looks good on this sweater.
prAna

Even if your cat or toddler can entertain themselves for hours with the packing materials that came with your new sweater, all that unnecessary waste may still weigh heavily on your mind.

Recycling is always a good idea, but it would be better if companies found more eco-friendly ways to ship products in the first place, right? A fashion brand called prAna thinks so, too. Since its inception in 1992, prAna has always been committed to producing sustainable apparel made from organic or recycled materials; the founders even sent their first shipments in old fruit boxes. As the organization grew, however, they gave in to the convenience of plastic packaging. And after a retail manager asked the corporate office what to do with the piles of empty poly bags, they knew they had to find a better solution. They started by cutting down on poly bags (those single-use sleeves that garments are often sealed in when you order them online). In the last decade, they’ve kept more than 17 million out of their packing and distribution processes.

Glassine is a much more sustainable—and recyclable—material than plastic.prAna

And this week, prAna launched the Responsible Packaging Movement, an initiative that encourages other fashion brands to join them in shifting to more sustainable packaging. prAna itself is planning to cut all plastic from consumer packaging by next year, and is also working on eliminating materials sourced from endangered and old-growth forests. Along the way, the company will devise webinars, resource guides, roundtable discussions, and more to help other brands make changes, too. So far, Mara Hoffman, Outerknown, and Toad&Co have all joined the movement, and other brands can find out how to do so here.

“As a sustainability leader in the apparel industry, we have always looked beyond our products to use our business as a platform for good,” Rachel Lincoln, prAna’s director of sustainability, said in a press release. “We are so excited to launch this movement to bring people together with a platform to share knowledge.”

Was this prAna dress packaged in plastic? No.prAna

While you might not have your own clothing brand, you can still support the Responsible Packaging Movement by making sure you’re buying your products from companies committed to sustainability. And outside the world of online shopping, here are 15 other ways to reduce your carbon footprint.