There's a lot I could say about the small group of Christians who want to boycott Starbucks because the company's traditionally colored red-and-green holiday Christmas cups somehow declare a "War on Christmas." But in the past few days, most of it has been said, and I don't need to add to that conversation.

I want to talk about the holiday cups in a different capacity. If anyone is going to find something "un-Christian" about the cups, then I think the focus should be on their one-time-use capacity. In fact, the focus should be on the one-time-use capacity of so many items we use during the holidays, not just Starbucks' coffee cups. You'd be hard-pressed to find anything in the Bible about the anti-Christian message sent by red-and-green coffee cups, but there's plenty in the Bible about caring for the planet. Creating mounds of trash from one-time-use items is an environmental problem.

When it comes right down to it, this has little to do with Starbucks, except that it's just one of the thousands of businesses that offer one-time-use items. This is bigger than any of that. It has to do with all of us who increase our use of disposables at the holidays with cups, wrapping paper, Christmas cards and so much more.

The Earth, whether you believe it was created by a God who commands us to care for it, or whether you believe it's just here by some accident, is what physically sustains us. It contains all the resources we need to live, and we are responsible for caring for it — not just for those of us privileged enough to purchase things that come in throw-away containers, but for everyone who lives on it now and in the future.

The next time you walk into Starbucks or any other coffee house, worry less about what should or shouldn't be on the coffee cups. Worry more about walking through the door with a reusable coffee cup in hand.

Take a look at the items we so easily throw away during the holidays and find opportunities to swap them out for durable, reusable options:

  • Use reusable cups instead of disposable ones.
  • Use durable plates instead of paper ones.
  • Use metal utensils instead of plastic ones.
  • Use gift wrap made from paper scraps instead of rolls of new gift wrap.
  • Find gifts that are truly useful instead of novelty gifts that will never get used and may end up in the trash.

That certainly isn't an exhaustive list, but it's a start. Perfection, while it would be wonderful, isn't a realistic goal here, but do you what you can as often as you can.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

The problem with Starbucks' cups isn't the design
The controversy over the holiday cups is a bit comical, but the sheer number of them — and tons of other disposables that will end up in the trash this holiday