Collectively refusing single-use cups

Collectively refusing single-use cups

MiiR is a design-forward and generosity-driven brand creating thoughtfully designed drinkware. With a social and environmental mission, MiiR exists to empower people for a better future.

Here we have a few questions with Rebecca Papé, co-founder of Seattle-based MiiR, proud partner of Standart Issue 20.

What is the most surprising or shocking statistic that should make all of us pause and get serious about more environmentally friendly coffee-drink practices?

You don’t need to perform a lengthy Google search to uncover the single-use cup problem we face for coffee consumption. Starbucks alone reportedly serves eight million cups a day globally. What’s more astounding though, and compelling to me, is what can happen when we collectively refuse single-use cups. A single act repeated over and over can have such great impact. All that waste—whether a part of the rubbish, recycle, or compost stream—evaporates because of one simple commitment to reach for the reusable instead. It’s not only possible, it’s just not that hard to go from potentially consuming hundreds of single-use cups in a year to zero.

Miir and Standart Magazine - Specialty Coffee Collaboration

What are some examples of the giving projects that MiiR supports and why?

MiiR is proud to have given over $1.5 million since its inception to incredible non-profits doing the hard work of empowering people for a better future across three issue areas: clean water, a healthy environment, and strong communities. With an aim to merge business and philanthropy from the outset, we built generosity into our business model, whereby every single product we sell helps fund trackable giving projects. By trackable, we mean that every one of our end consumers has an opportunity to engage with the good their purchase helped to create (more about the Give Code™ at, which in turn has built a community we are damn proud to be a part of.

Let me be clear: This path hasn’t always been easy. It’s required ongoing discipline and relentless commitment, but then and now, we stand by our responsibility to bring more beauty and generosity into the world through our work. Doing so sets us apart from other drinkware brands and, more importantly, gives us a sense of purpose coupled with passion.

'You don’t need to perform a lengthy Google search to uncover the single-use cup problem we face for coffee consumption.'

A project partner we can’t get enough of is Kula. Operating in Rwanda, Kula believes that poverty can be eradicated through the development of entrepreneurs. Because coffee is such a big export for the country, their fellowship programme touches many coffee farmers and their families by providing industry training, business investment, and life and leadership skills. I had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda in 2019, and I saw first-hand Kula’s life-changing work, particularly how it benefitted women. Watch our full-length film, Heart of the Hills, to learn more about Kula, our partnership, and Rwanda and its people.

We are also always working with partners Splash and Water1st to fund long term, sustainable projects in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) space in developing countries. And some of our more recent partnerships, like with Viva Farms and Women’s Wilderness, are empowering the next generation in a variety of ways in our own backyard.

Miir and Standart Magazine - Specialty Coffee Collaboration

What is one small difference we can all make to our coffee routines to better the environment?

If you’re making coffee at home, compost your coffee filter or buy a reusable one. Avoid bottled water. Buy ethically sourced coffee. If you’re buying prepared coffee, form the habit of saying no to single-use coffee cups, without exception. Practically speaking, what does this look like? If you’re walking into your local coffee shop and realize you forgot your reusable cup, skip the visit altogether—or, post up for a bit and enjoy a cup in-house instead. This is a practice I adopted years ago and live by. The consequences are severe enough that I’ve learned my lesson and built in the muscle memory to not leave the house without my MiiR!