‘Why it’s cool to use a reusable cup’

Annastasiya Provozin from NFGL Local Network in Linnaeus shares her thoughts on reducing her daily waste and saving the planet.

'Why it’s cool to use a reusable cup'
Photo: Annastasiya Provozin and her reusable cup

A couple of years ago, I started having an interest in ecology and sustainability. I watched many videos about ocean pollution, plastic waste, climate change and related topics and was appalled with what I saw. I wondered, ‘What can I do, as an individual, to make a positive impact?’. The answer for me was to produce less waste.

When I moved to Sweden to study, I started to consider how much waste I produced through my coffee consumption. If I continued to drink at least two cups of coffee per day (almost always, on to go), I would throw away 730 cups per year and more than 30,000 cups in my life. After realising this, I wanted to change something, so I decided I would not contribute to those scary waste numbers. Thus, I decided to buy a reusable cup to reduce the amount of waste I produce daily.

I went to Stockholm and found the best reusable cup I have ever seen. Everything was perfect – size, colours, weight, materials, just everything. Even though it was expensive for me, I bought it because I knew it was worth it. Let me explain why.

First, you pay, then you receive your money back

Sounds a bit weird but it’s exactly like this! Many coffee shops offer excellent discounts for those who come with their own cup. Some places can also refill your cup for free. Always ask about what you can get with your own reusable cup, and you will be surprised that you can receive great advantages.

People will smile at you

When I visit coffee places with my reusable cup people always smile at me. ‘Such a nice cup!’, ‘It’s so cute’, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen such a beautiful cup’, ‘That’s so cool that you do good things for the environment’ – I hear it almost every day, and it’s so empowering. It’s especially helpful in autumn and winter when everything turns a little depressing, and their words make me much happier.

It's a good step towards a more sustainable life

The answer might be obvious: by creating less waste you definitely play a significant part in taking care of the environment.

You enjoy your drink more with your own cup

It’s difficult to describe how different it feels to drink from your own reusable cup unless you try it first. Believe me; you will enjoy the taste of coffee more if you drink it from a glass or bamboo cup rather than drinking it from a single-use paper-plastic cup. It’s like drinking coffee from your favourite cup at home, but this one can be taken with you.

Changing habits is easy as I have understood this from my experience. I feel better producing less waste. I have since joined a group at university that is working to promote sustainable coffee drinking and wants to encourage people to use reusable cups. I believe that step by step we can make small changes, so why not start right now?

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Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.