Left on the go

Food & Drink

You are always on the go and you love that your coffee is too? We eat and drink more on the go than ever before, which may fit in with our urban lifestyle, but is not helping the environment. In Vienna alone 84 million to-go coffee cups are used and discarded every year by tourists as well as inhabitants. In order to curb the amount of waste the city of Vienna is therefore running an experiment called “My Coffee Cup”, which involves reusable cups, from early 2019 onward. The cups come with a deposit of 1 Euro and can be returned at one of the 30 partner shops or at one of six deposit machines in town.

Mann wirft leeren Kaffeebecher weg.

So, businesses are finding solutions to deal with the debris of our to-go habits. This is the practical and business friendly solution and it is certainly worthwhile every support.

Yet, I have been asking myself, why is it that we need all these cups of latte, chai and matcha on the go? Why do I buy them in spite of being well aware of the amount of surplus garbage I produce? Maybe because the frothy drinks entertain our taste bunds, convey a feeling of hygge, while we rush through the streets of urban anonymity, busy communicating across multiple media channels?

The point is, that about twenty years ago the urban human being did not have the need to have a sip of water every ten minutes and a coffee every two hours, at least not outside of buildings. Which was good, because there were no Starbucks or Caffè Nero coffee shops in Europe until around the Millennium.

The same restrictive attitude used to prevail with regards to snacking. In the Eighties and Nineties not even children took food on short trips to town or to the zoo. For the last ten years or so, no parent leaves the house for more that half an hour without several bags of snacks or Tupperware boxes full of different kinds of foods. In spite of there being many more shops selling on-the-go foods than ever before.

There seems to be an angst that we might have to “go without” in the middle of abundance. The worry that we might miss a treat, miss out on our daily indulgence. The disquiet that the constant entertainment could stop for a second and open up the abyss of emptiness. Nothing added, just the taste of our self on our tongue.

So, I will try and stop suckling on to go drinks and just sit down for my next coffee. And the one after that.