I have two keep-cups on my desk at work. But when I nip around the corner to get a caffeine fix, they often stay on my desk. By all accounts, another 80pc of keep-cup users are just as forgetful as I am.
And while that might be okay during the Covid19 outbreak - many cafés are suspending the use of keep-cups for the duration - it does mean I regularly add to the 200 million cups that are dumped every year in Ireland.
The single-use coffee cup is probably one of the most visible signs of our throwaway culture. Even though it's far from the worst offender - cups amount to just 0.9pc of total paper packaging on the Irish market, according to Repak, the body representing the recycling industry.
What then is the problem with disposables? First, there's the energy, resources and emissions involved in producing a cup that is only used once and then chucked.
Second, there's the problem of how to dispose of the rubbish. "Everyone is so confused about what to do with cups at the end of their life," says Mindy O'Brien of Voice, an Irish environmental charity. There are so many different types, some are recyclable, some biodegradable, and some are compostable, but all are single use.
Recyclable cups may sound eco but, as Mindy puts it, "recyclable cups are hooey." They have a thin plastic or polyethylene liner that makes them waterproof, but also makes them very difficult to recycle - in the UK only 1 in 400 cups is recycled and in Ireland it's not economically worthwhile for paper mills to do so. Instead, they go to landfill or incineration.
How about biodegradable cups? More hooey. "I'm biodegradable, you're biodegradable, even plastic is biodegradable eventually," says Mindy. The question, she says, is how long will it take to biodegrade and there is no standard answer on that as yet.
Compostable cups then? Many cafés now use compostables and that's surely good news. Another positive step is that the national composting network Cre has set a new Irish standard that aligns with the EU level for what constitutes 'compostable' - that it can break down within 12 weeks in an industrial facility.
Except that, because there are no public composting bins on our streets, these compostables just end up in general waste bins, and then either go to landfill - where they stew for years producing methane just like non-compostable stuff - or to incineration where they belch out nasty dioxins. Neither are great options.
Dublin City Council is considering testing out 'a limited number' of compost public bins but they say that all the confusion over coffee cups means there is a high chance that compostable waste will get contaminated with recyclable or single-use cups. As Mindy says, "No one is going to look at the bottom of their cup to find out where to dispose of it."
Putting a deposit refund scheme for bottles, cans, drinks and containers would pull all those things out of public bins, for starters, she suggests, and reduce the level of contamination.
Many café owners are taking the matter into their own hands. In January, Dukes Coffee Shop in Cork banned all single-use cups, while Bread 41 in Dublin plans to extend its Monday ban on disposables to three days a week.
Other initiatives aim to incentivise forgetful keep-cup owners like myself to remember. The Conscious Cup campaign has hundreds of cafés signed up to give discounts, and has big chains such as Insomnia on board. Another successful initiative is 2GoCup, a deposit and refund scheme where you pay an extra euro for your container, and get your money back when you return it.
Even with the best of intentions, it's hard to form new habits and this illustrates the uphill battle we face in shifting from single-use packaging to a more sustainable way to eat on the go. Help is coming though - a pilot food container deposit and return scheme called ReCircle Ireland is underway at University College Cork, while David Weitbrecht of zerowaste.ie is soon to launch rezero, a similar nationwide scheme.
All of these are great ideas, says David, "but how are we going to make people use it? That's the underlying issue, that's what's difficult to achieve."
Or the government could ban single-use cups altogether. France has already done so. But there seems to be little appetite for such a move - instead Minister Bruton has announced a latte levy (the exact amount is under review) which will put the tax burden yet again on the consumer - in the same way as the plastic bag levy.
As with so many other issues to do with the climate crisis, the lack of government policy has left a vacuum. Well-intentioned cafés and coffee drinkers are trying their best to fill the gap, but what is really needed is a policy that prevents waste in the first place.
IF YOU'VE GOT IT, FLAUNT IT
Research by the University of Sheffield shows that you need to reuse your keep-cup between 20 and 100 times to keep the greenhouse gas emissions produced in its manufacture, and the resources used to wash it after each use, lower than those produced in the making of a disposable cup.