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#Begone, the Era of Tumblers2022 Essay Contest

Beware because the era of tumblers is coming to an end. In fact, — let’s face it — they are not that helpful toward saving the Earth anymore if we keep using them this way. Tumblers used to be everyone’s No.1 essential when they wanted to show off their “going green” spirit. Many beverage and coffee companies also enthusiastically pitched in by whipping out fancy tumbler merchandise made of different materials and in different colors every season to stimulate people’s desire to purchase them. That is, I believe, where the problem started.

Nobody was notified that stainless tumblers are much more efficient than disposable cups in terms of climate change, only if we use one bottle more than 50 times. If we give up during the process and buy a new one instead, we cannot call this an “eco-friendly” gesture. Some might use a single tumbler repeatedly, but many of my friends quickly get fed up with their old bottles and look for new ones with trendy or cutesy designs. Not to mention that famous coffee brands offer limited edition special merchandise every season and holiday. Such might lead to excessive tumbler shopping and collecting, but only for display. Can we honestly call this “going green”?

Highly influential coffee chains should be the first to lead the situation the right way. They need to lessen their aggressive “green” marketing — such as giving out an excessive number of reusable plastic cups at an event — which can lead to massive amounts of plastic waste. Reducing the scale of their tumbler collection might also help, as people would be less tempted to buy the “must-buy” tumblers as part of the latest trend. Though this might lead to a slight decrease in their profits, these companies need to take on a greater sense of social responsibility as international coffee bigwigs.

Besides buying less tumbler merchandise, we, college students, can make a change by participating in the new Anabada campaign. When we were elementary students, most of us would have experienced this as a school event in the 2000s. We saved, shared, traded, and reused items to prevent ourselves from overspending. Trying to reduce unnecessary purchases, especially something that is not fully reusable, is the whole purpose of this campaign.

Coming back in the 2020s, Anabada has taken a new form. Many online secondhand platforms are used frequently among younger generations, where we can buy used clothes and shoes at a reasonable price or trade each other’s items into something both sides want. Some people even give out freebies to people who are in need. It is beneficial to both sides and to our environment.

Other than that, there are social commerce platforms where we make group grocery purchases at a fair price. There is no need for bulk purchases and worrying about leftovers, especially when you live alone. When shopping for clothes, many specialty store retailers of private label apparel (SPA) brands are actively “saving the Earth” by producing recycled fibers instead. There is even the case of a brand, considered very trendy among young people, that manufactures bags and accessories solely out of recycled materials, such as truck tarps and 100% compostable textiles.

As future leaders of the new generation, we must be deeply involved in the steps to save the Earth. The outcomes will undoubtedly be meaningful if we try to make subtle “green” changes in our lives for a better future. As the saying goes, your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.

Kim So-yeon  (English Language and Literature)

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