British Columbia

Need a New Year's resolution? Victoria suggests making one for the planet

The founders of a project that puts shareable, reusable mugs into Victoria coffee shops are being recognized by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps as "climate champions."

Capital city will try to get people to take action in simple ways, like using reusable cups

Caroline Thibault bought 1,500 reusable travel mugs to start the Nulla Project, a shareable travel mug service in Victoria. (Kathryn Marlow/CBC )

Coffee shop owner Maureen Gardin says that while most people like the idea of bringing reusable mugs for their coffee, the reality is different. 

"We've had this shop for 23 years, and for 23 years we've given a discount for people who bring their own cups, but there's not a lot of people who do that," says Gardin, who owns Bean Around the World Victoria with her husband.

But Gardin is hoping a new project being recognized by the City of Victoria might help change that. 

The city is suggesting four simple New Year's resolutions people can make to help the planet, including carrying a reusable mug. 

Cousins Caroline Thibault and Nancy Prevost have just launched the Nulla Project, a shareable mug service, and are being recognized Wednesday at the New Year's Levee, an annual reception held at Victoria's City Hall.

Mayor Lisa Helps will introduce Thibault and Prevost at the reception as "climate champions," with hopes they will motivate others to make resolutions that benefit the planet. 

The cousins bought 1,500 reusable travel mugs and have partnered with four coffee shops in Victoria so far.

If you go to one of those shops and don't have your own mug, you can pay a $5 deposit and use one of Nulla's. The mug can then be returned to any of the participating shops — including Gardin's Bean Around the World — which will refund the deposit. 

Maureen Gardin has signed up her coffee shop for the Nulla Project, a new shareable mug program in Victoria. (Kathryn Marlow/CBC)

Thibault says they started Nulla, which means "nothing" in Italian and Latin, to solve a problem they ran into in their own lives. 

"We were talking about a year ago about how we tried to be as zero-waste as possible and we never get coffee to go when we're out and about and we forget our travel mug," said Thibault. 

She says she hopes people still use their own travel mugs, but rely on the shareable ones in a pinch. 

Other climate ideas for 2020

If hot beverages aren't your thing, the city has a few other suggestions to help. You could resolve to plant a tree, try walking, biking, or taking the bus one day a week, or, if you get your heat from oil, you could switch to a heat pump, which is more efficient. 

And if you want to do more, Mayor Helps suggests attending a climate champions meeting, which will be held monthly at city hall, with refreshments provided.