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To Sleeve or Not to Sleeve

What does reuseable really mean? I was stopping by the Starbucks that’s the closest to my hike up to the Hollywood Sign. I lead hikes up there frequently and I often need a little cup of joe or a sausage muffin thing before I walk backwards up the fire road and explain that that sign right up there has nothing to do with being a movie star and everything to do with real estate.

Back to the coffee. Just about every time I order a coffee (weather Starbucks, Coffee Bean or local donut shop) I say, “no sleeve, please.”

I get a variety of reactions. But the most frequent one was offered up again as the nice barista said, “Oh, do you want it double cupped?”

How many cups are enough?

NO! I DON’T WANT IT DOUBLE CUPPED! My inside brain screamed. I DON’T WANT ANOTHER PAPER CUP OUTSIDE THE MAIN COFFEE CUP! (And YES, I KNOW that they came up with paper sleeves to avoid this.)

“No…no thank you…I don’t want an extra cup…er…either.

She looked at me, not like I was an alien from out of space, but definitely like I was speaking an alternative language.

Seeing this I added, “I’ll take my chances.”

Meaning that I’m a grown man who’s held plenty of hot drinks in my hands during my lifetime and I’ll be able to manage it without getting burned.

Then I said, “I guess I should have brought my reuseable cup.” She nodded politely saying, “Yeah but they’re hard to keep track of.”


Reuseable reuseable reuseable

Then I asked, “How many people ask you to NOT have a sleeve?” She puzzled. I added, “Less than 10 percent…less than 1 percent?”

“Yeah, probably that.” She smiled and prepped my sleeve for the VERY NEXT CUP to follow mine.

So, in order to avoid all the massive confusion about paper sleeves let’s all just try to pick up an REUSEABLE cup and remember to bring it along.

I’ll get the stats to you later but suffice to say that we as a society have a big SINGLE USE AND THROW IT AWAY problem.

In the meantime I’ll work on my reuseable cup frequency.

For more on where all this garbage goes all you have to do is take a little wander along the Los Angeles River.

Ted Mattison, also known as Ranger Ted, is a Certified California Naturalist, trained in Wilderness First Aid, and has explored, hiked, canoed and kayaked extensively from his home state of Minnesota to Alaska, Washington and California. He’s a graduate of Oberlin College and a former Social Studies teacher. Ted has been a working actor, director, producer and acting teacher in Los Angeles for 25 years. He is the founder of Wonder Outside with Ranger Ted and lives in Huntington Beach with his wife and two daughters. For more info please visit