Monday, April 26, 2010
Cups On Being Green
So, I'm working our Cups booth yesterday (where we sell not only our Cups and coffee, but also jars of freshly harvested chamomile tea from my garden, as well as strawberry milk - even better, the milk and Cups are available as free samples too!) at the farmer's market in La Jolla when a woman approaches me, says she has read about us in the local paper-most recently about our 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant®. Then she says that she noticed that we had a large white SUV sprinkled with Cups logos, and wonders how this jives with our green status. Interesting point.
So I explain to her that we actually have three delivery "vehicles" - a tricycle which we use for deliveries in the village, a vespa for deliveries outside that 10-block radius (which I was standing next to during our conversation), and finally, yes, a large old white SUV that once belonged to my husband (for his weekendly nursery runs), which, rather than trade-in or sell, I added flair to and added to the Cups fleet for when we needed to make large deliveries. I explained that we keep it parked near our store on Girard most of the time. That we only use it for big events, where we might need to bring 2-3 people, tents, tables, and an unlimited supply of Cups (like the farmer's market, e.g.). She nodded, not disapprovingly, but neither with approval either. Was she satisfied? Am I?
My good friend Jean (the "hall monitor of my life") recites this as her Green mantra: REDUSE, REUSE, RECYCLE. I suppose I could reduce the SUV - not to one of the new hybrid SUVs, which we have, because unfortunately they're not as big YET - to either a minivan or van. But is that really reducing? Isn't that really meant to apply where one has two vehicles and one would be enough? Because if I attempt to sell the old SUV, I may either not be able to sell it, because it's old and has a lot of mileage, in which case it heads to the dump; or I do sell it, to someone who needs it as a primary vehicle and does with it what I don't - drives it to the Starbucks drive-thru solo, instead of leaving it parked 90% of the time. Since this was already a car in our family, my taking it for Cups constitutes a reuse, but is that better than my purchasing a new minivan, with clearly superior mileage? I don't even know where to begin with recycle, as I'm not sure what we actually do with that never-ending supply of cars smashed on top of one another.
I guess the point is there are very few clear answers. I know we all try to do the best we can in any given situation. I once watched a TV program with a Green expert who was discussing the use of air conditioning in a car - to me an obvious no-no. But, of course, the answer was not that easy. Turns out, that up to certain speeds (I think the answer was 35 MPH, though I'm not positive anymore) use of air conditioning was worse than opening the windows. However, with speeds greater than that, opening the windows instead of using the air conditioning was actually worse, because it reduced the car's mileage!
So I confess to not knowing all of the answers - indeed, being probably ignorant of most. If anyone out there can offer some insight into this SUV situation I'd love to hear it - bad or good. Until then, I'll keep trying to stay on the best path I know.
Side note: The SUV's use at home was limited to the following: football games, where we would cart all 8 attendees in a single vehicle, and once-a-week trips to the nursery, where my husband and I would load up on plants for our garden. He wanted to trade in the SUV for a pick-up, which he now has, because we couldn't fit the more mature fruit trees in it. With the fruit trees and other plants we carried to our home on the weekends in the SUV, we now have enough citrus, berries, and herbs to feed ourselves, our friends and families, as well as supply my store.