Starboard Ocean Ambassador and Plastic Soup Surfer, Merijn Tinga has been foiling for a new cause: to eliminate disposable coffee cups and adopt reusable cups on his Mission Reuse Expedition.
In 8 days, Merijn Tinga covered the distance of 5 million disposable cups, foiling from Brussels to Amsterdam. He reached the finish line of the Expedition securing commitments from Municipalities along the route to join the transit to reusable cups. However, the finish line was only the beginning, as Mission Reuse will continue as a protagonist for adaption to the reusable cup.
A distance of 5 million disposable cups
The Netherlands alone consumes 5 million disposable coffee cups every single morning. These cups are only used once before ending up in the incinerator, or worse, in our environment. If you put the Netherlands’ every-morning use of disposable cups in a row, you get a 385 km long line!
In July, Merijn Tinga covered that exact distance, surfing from Brussels to Amsterdam on a surfboard made of used disposable cups. While navigating inland waters he used a Fliteboard e-foil, whereas, on open water, he utilized a wing made out of old kitesurf kites.
Disposable cups are single-use cups partially or fully made out of plastic. As plastic does not decay, these cups lead to “permanent pollution.” Today they are lying around everywhere, polluting the environment, as a vociferous symbol of our throw-away society.
Did you know that even ‘paper’ disposable cups, which are often considered a more environmentally friendly solution/option, contain a plastic interior that does not break down naturally? Not to mention, they often come with an appurtenant plastic lid.
In the Netherlands alone, more than 4 billion single-use cups are thrown away annually. Tens of millions of these cups subsequently end up on the street or in nature, for instance as a result of overfilled bins, or ruthless or hasty users.
The Mission’s goal
As mentioned above, disposable cups are an everyday (and everywhere) issue causing rampant waste and pollution. Mission Reuse is a campaign showing that it is both possible and necessary to replace this type of waste with reusable options. The mission has 3 core goals related to consumers, cities, and businesses;
Consumers: bring their own cups when they order coffee somewhere, and avoid participating in the throw-away culture!
Cities: make the use of refundable cups compulsory at events and festivals, like Ghent (Belgium) and Leiden (Netherlands) have already done.
Businesses: introducing a deposit system for coffee cups.
Merijn Tinga pleads for sustainable use of raw materials, as well as widespread adoption of recycling. Hence, he is targeting the elimination of disposable cups at events, festivals, and within large organizations.
Mission Reuse – to reduce the use
About the Plastic Soup Surfer, Merijn Ting
Today the Plastic Soup Surfer is a biologist surfer and full-time plastic activist. He is supported by a small team of media specialists.
Tingas’ journey started in 2016 when he crossed the North Sea from The Netherlands to England on a kitefoil-board made from 60 small plastic bottles. This journey was the kickstart to a petition that captured 60 thousand signatures. Subsequently, this resolution led to the “Plastic Soup Surfer resolution” in 2017, driving the implementation of bottle deposit schemes for small plastic bottles in the Netherlands, resulting in a more than 75% decrease in plastic bottle litter!
Merijn Tinga continues to surf for the environment. As he is frequently catching and creating new waves, inviting the rest of us on the ride.