If you buy a cup of coffee to go at Babette Café in Berkeley, California, later this month, you might not be able to get it in a disposable cup. The owners have one case of compostable cups left, and aren’t planning to buy more. Instead, anyone who doesn’t have a reusable mug of their own—and doesn’t want to stay in the café—can use an app to borrow a gleaming stainless steel mug from a stack on the counter. The café is one of nine locations in the city to pilot Vessel, a system that lets customers check out a free mug , like a library book, and then drop it off at any of the other participating locations, where it will be collected, washed, and returned. Vessel , a startup that also operates in Boulder, Colorado, will soon launch a similar pilot in San Francisco. [Photo: Vessel] “The idea is to make it so much easier for people to go reusable rather than being focused on this disposable culture,” says Martin Bourque, executive director of the Ecology Center , a nonprofit that handles recycling for the city and that partnered with other organizations to launch the pilot, which […]

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