A quick glance at any of the trash bins around Mill Valley reveals an abundance of one particular source of waste: single-use coffee cups.

A pair of local leaders, Ambatalia owner Molly de Vries and Susan Lopes of the Mill Valley Chamber, have partnered with UPSTREAM, which sparks innovative solutions to plastic pollution by helping businesses and communities shift from single-use to reuse to launch CommUnity Cup, an innovative, community-centered pilot program born right here in Mill Valley that seeks to replace single-use café cups with a lending system of reusable cups for Mill Valley’ans and others to enjoy. 

The project has garnered the support of the City of Mill Valley through Zero Waste Grant funds, as well as the Mill Valley Chamber, Mill Valley Refuse, and the Enjoy Mill Valley Fund. Residents and supporters of the program have a chance to help Mill Valley launch a first-of-its-kind reusable lending-cup program to end single-use waste by contributing to a GoFundMe campaign

To successfully launch the CommUnity cup pilot program, organizers need to raise $47,000. 

“Mill Valley is a close-knit community of environmentalists who dream of a planet that no longer has to endure the destruction caused by single-use waste,” Lopes says. “Through a bold new community-based initiative, CommUnity Cup, we will help make that dream a reality. But we need your support.”

Single-use cups have a massive impact on our environment. Every year, Americans alone use 58 billion single use cups. That’s 20 million trees. 6.8 million tons of CO2. 12 billion gallons of water. 15 billion pounds of carbon. Plastics made from fossil fuels are a global health hazard. And our throw-away society disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color. Learn more.

“Our current way is not sustainable,” de Vries adds. “It’s time for a bold change, and Mill Valley is ready to lead the way with a creative, convenient, and sustainable solution! 

How CommUnity Cup works: 

  • Download the CommUnity cup app and choose your subscription
  • Select your favorite participating café and order your beverage in a sanitized (health department approved!) stainless steel CommUnity cup. 
  • Return it to any yellow CommUnity cup return bin. 
  • And repeat. 🙂 

Through CommUnity cup, organizers seek to bring positive, transformational change un Mill Valley by:

  • Replacing single-use disposables with high-quality, reusable CommUnity cups
  • Helping our businesses reduce waste
  • Raising awareness and increasing “reduce and reuse” habits
  • Helping foster a move away from the throwaway culture 
  • Leading by example and teaching our children about sustainable practices. 
  • Funding the pilot and helping to bring the CommUnity cup to other communities.  

Why did CommUnity Cup Select Mill Valley as the Launch City? 

CommUnity Cup Co-founders Molly de Vries and Susan Lopes know that Mill Valley is one of the most incredible “small-town-meets-big-ideas” communities in the world. As long-time reuse activists, we believe that this is the best place in America to make this progressive prototype a success. 

What Mill Valley Cafés Are All-In?
Participating businesses (so far) include Equator, Cup of Joe’s, Flour Craft Bakery, Coyote Café, and Juice Girl! 

I Believe in CommUnity cup!  How Can I Help Support this Bold Vision?
To launch the CommUnity Cup pilot program, organizers need to raise $47,000. If every 15+ yo Mill Valley resident contributed just $4, we would meet our fundraising goal. 


Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!