Luxury For The People is more than a pithy slogan. It’s an ethos that reflects our values as a company and collective. It exemplifies the material luxury of the products that we create, the way in which we produce them, and the culture we have built for our customer and the people who work for and represent Poppy Barley.
And luxury exists beyond just the items we choose to adorn our bodies with. It’s in the small things we surround ourselves with that bring us joy and promote good mental, physical, and spiritual health. It’s in taking time for self-care, in prioritizing the people and things we love. Everyday luxury can take all forms. When we think about small luxuries and daily rituals, there are few more soothing and immediate than that first sip of coffee from a favourite, local cafe. But what is the true impact of our morning latte consumption?
The average lifespan of a single-use coffee cup is just 13 minutes. And due to the plastic content of most of them, fewer than 1% of the estimated 2 trillion disposable cups produced over the last 30 years have been recycled. The other 99% end up in landfills, contributing to the ever-growing problem of excess waste and environmental degradation. For the minimal time that the cup serves as a delivery method for a dose of caffeine, it will last several lifetimes in a heap of non-degradable rubbish.
In the lead-up to Fashion Revolution Week, we started to ask ourselves, “how we can make small, meaningful changes to reduce our environmental impact and promote sustainable practices in our everyday lives?” One answer to that question was lying in the bottom of our coffee order. And the idea for a Poppy Barley reusable to-go mug was born.
We didn’t just want to find any old cup. We knew that whatever we ended up deciding on, it had to be in line with the values that we have championed for since the very first days of Poppy Barley. The cup needed to be ethically made, and it needed to adhere to manufacturing practices that centre environmentalism and sustainability. It needed to be a quality product that people would proudly carry with them on their daily commute.
After some internet sleuthing, we landed on the UK-based company, Ecoffee Cup. Made from bamboo —the world’s fastest growing and most sustainable crop— its environmental impact is far smaller than similar silicon or plastic models. And for an added bonus, it’s dishwasher safe and built to last. We don’t believe in fast-fashion, and we wouldn’t put our name on something that would wind up in the garbage after a few short uses.
When Kendall and Justine founded Poppy Barley in 2012, the idea that the brand would promote sustainability through its materials and manufacturing was just as important as making beautiful and wearable leather goods. Reducing the impact that throwaway-fashion has on the environment —through its harmful production practices, unethical working conditions, and the nature of cheaply-made, disposable garments— has and always will be at the heart of what we do. This coffee cup initiative came from that same spirit.
So, for FRW 2018, we are putting our money where our mouth is. We have partnered with the Edmonton-based coffee roaster and cafe chain, Transcend Coffee to offer customers the chance to purchase one of our PB branded to-go mugs. For an added bonus, if you buy the cup, Transcend will fill it with coffee for free! We are selling the cups for cost: $12.00. We aren’t trying to go into the branded mug business. All we want to achieve with this product is reduce the amount of paper cups in landfills, and create a conversation about living more sustainably, in all aspects of our lives.
The fight against climate change and harmful environmental practices isn’t going to be won overnight. But we firmly believe that the small choices we make each day, from what we wear to how we transport our coffee or tea, can and do make a difference. Massive change starts with small, daily, and intentional actions. As inconsequential as it seems, limiting the number of paper cups piled up in a landfill is a tangible and real way to make an impact. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the cup is pretty cute.