This year I’ve really been focusing on reducing waste and my ecological footprint. In fact, it was one of my New Years resolutions – “Find more ways to live sustainably”. One of the results of this is that I grew my Instagram community to include a lot of zero-waste advocates, including CupSwitch.
I’m very inspired by a lot of women who are going above and beyond to raise awareness about our waste problem. Their stories are informative, motivating and call us to action.
Megan, the face behind CupSwitch, is one of these inspirational women.
Introducing Megan and CupSwitch!
Currently living in New York City, Megan has made it her mission to raise awareness about the issue with disposable cups – hence the name CupSwitch.
Such a simple act that can create positive far reaching change.
So I had to talk to her and get her story on Caffeine and Conquer!
Megan agreed to allow me to interview her for my blog. We connected over video chat with the goal of audio recording her responses to share with you guys. However, the audio recorder failed me!
Therefore, instead of providing a transcribed list of questions and answers, I am doing this a little bit differently.
These are the questions I asked:
- How did the idea of CupSwitch come about?
- What has the reception of CupSwitch been like in NYC? Among people, you have run into while filming in NYC? The businesses you speak too? Politicians?
- Where do you see the future of CupSwitch going?
- In your live Instagram stories, which are fun to watch, your often seen “plading” and collecting tossed cups off the streets of NYC. What is plading and why is it so popular. When you’re not plading on Instagram what else are you doing to bring awareness through CupSwitch?
- Do you have a personal favourite reusable cup brand or single-use alternative?
- How can my viewers participate in the CupSwitch movement?
Below is what I learned about CupSwitch during that conversation.
My Chat with CupSwitch
Image Source: Instagram
A passion for sustainability
One thing that comes out strongly in Megan’s Instagram videos is her passion for sustainable practices.
I was curious about how she came up with the idea of CupSwitch.
She explained to me that she was working as a research assistant but didn’t feel satisfied doing the work. Instead, she felt a purpose in bringing awareness towards the disposable cup problem plaguing NYC.
It was the perfect time as New York City has a goal of going zero-waste by 2030. For a city like NYC to attempt this is amazing!
She explained that there is a disconnect and lack of awareness of the impact disposable cups has on the environment. By sharing what she sees, and talking about it in her stories, she is trying to break that interruption.
A chance to form connections
During our conversation, Megan emphasized the importance of human connections. In today’s society focused on social media, this is a refreshing change!
This is apparent when you watch her Instagram stories. She often stops to say hi to people she passes, talks to residents about what she is doing and features others who share the same passion.
She actually insisted on doing my interview over video chat because she wanted to make that connection! During our chat I was also introduced to a couple of residents she knew as well as a barista at a coffee shop!
Megan’s connection with the people she comes across in person, and online, has allowed her to share her knowledge about disposable cups. She often gets asked what she is doing walking around with a pile of garbage she’s collected. This gives her the perfect chance to educate people about the environmental impact of single-use cups.
In addition to connecting with people, she is also trying to form a connection to the spaces she interacts with. It is her belief that caring for the environment connects you with the spaces you occupy.
It’s contagious! Megan’s open personality and drive to connect is making people think twice about the trash they produce.
I had to ask Megan about “plading”, which she is often seen doing in her live Instagram stories.
Plading is her version of “plogging“, which she does completely for the fun of it. I’ve noticed there is a movement among eco-friendly people to combine exercise with cleaning up the environment and I think that’s amazing!
During our conversation she mentioned that she’s seen others plading, so let’s hope this continues to catch on and our spaces get cleaner!
How you can participate
Lastly, I asked Megan how you guys can participate in the CupSwitch movement.
While her focus is on disposable cups, she explained there are so many other ways you can contribute.
1. Purchase a reusable cup rather than use a disposable one from a coffee shop. If you have a coffee every day that’s 365 cups that won’t end up in a landfill!
2. Swap plastic bags for reusable cotton bags.
3. Avoid disposable straws by drinking without one or purchasing aluminum straws.
There are so many options. During our conversation, Megan stressed not to try and be perfect. Instead, find changes you can make that is realistic to your lifestyle.
And finally, share this post and others like it on your social media accounts. Increase awareness and join the conversation!
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