MugCycling - Planting Justice and Actual Cafe Team Up


Actual Cafe & Planting Justice



Actual Cafe and Planting Justice are excited to announce an innovative new program called MugCycling.  The program has two facets: waste reduction, and fundraising.

“Planting Justice brought us the idea of joining a campaign to reduce cup waste, and through a lot of back-and-forth, we turned it into something a lot more interesting,” says Actual Cafe owner Sal Bednarz.  “Planting Justice was a partner that we really wanted support, and this campaign allows us to do that, while we educate customers and have fun.”

Each time a customer of Actual Cafe gets coffee or espresso drink in a reusable mug, Actual Cafe will donate $.25 to Planting Justice.  For customers who do not have mugs of their own, Planting Justice has sourced 100% upcycled mugs from Urban Ore, a Berkeley recycler. These mugs are then fitted with a campaign sticker (below) and branded Ugly Mugs.  Ugly Mugs are available to Actual Cafe customers in return for a $5 donation to Planting Justice.  Stickers will also be available for a $1 donation, for those who want to add them to their own mugs.

When designing the campaign, the partners agreed that providing mugs for customers was an important part of the MugCycling program, but that producing new mugs that would ultimately end up becoming more landfill was in conflict with the program goals.  Instead, by branding cast-off mugs as Ugly Mugs, the hope is that fans of the program will proudly show off their battered, upcycled mugs, and engage others in conversations about waste reduction or Planting Justice’s programs.  Says Daniel of Planting Justice, “Ugly Mugs recall the idea that one person’s trash is another’s treasure.  Diverting these perfectly good mugs from landfill and giving them a new purpose with this program seemed like a no-brainer.  The original owners probably replaced them with something shiny and new, which is understandable, but by branding them ‘Ugly’,  and incorporating them into this awesome campaign, we’re making them lovable again.”

What’s with all the Ugly Mugs?

Planting Justice is providing 100% upcycled mugs from Urban Ore and other sources for this program (yes, we wash and sanitize them). Get one for a donation of $5, all of which goes directly to Planting Justice.


Reduce waste.  The to-go cups at Actual Cafe are compostable, but can still wind up in landfills, and require vast amounts of energy to produce, transport, and dispose of. Actual Cafe will be making a $.25 donation to Planting Justice every time you have a reusable cup for to-go beverage purchases, because you’re helping out the planet by cutting down on excess waste, and helping Actual Cafe to cut down on expenses.

Support Planting Justice in their work:

- Creating urban gardens which produce food for local residents.

- Educating residents in organic gardening practices and healthy nutrition.

- Creating living wage jobs for parolees to help break the cycle of re-incarceration.

Planting Justice Facts:

- For every three paid projects that Planting Justice delivers, they install one free garden for low-income residents

- Planting Justice has built over 200 Gardens at local residences, schools, and San Quentin Prison

- Planting Justice has created full-time jobs for 12 parolees from San Quentin Prison, where Planting Justice holds regular workshops and classes.

Who is Planting Justice?

An Oakland-based non-profit organization dedicated to food justice, economic justice, and sustainable, local food systems.