The best reusable coffee cups are all made from materials that won’t break down into microplastics. Although most disposable coffee cups are made from paper, most have an inner plastic lining, which cannot be recycled. So billions are thrown away on landfills each year, which take 30 years to biodegrade.
If you drink coffee on the go, most coffee shops offer discounts if you bring a reusable cup (it saves them money). Choose from one of the following, one purchase should last years. Most paper cups have plastic lining, so can’t be recycled. If you run a coffee shop, send used paper cups to Simply Cups or Veolia for recycling.
What’s Wrong with Coffee Cups?
We have huge issues with disposable cups. In the UK alone, 2.5 billion disposable cups are used, and nearly all of them are not recycled, with quite a few people throwing them out of car windows. The sweet liquids inside can attract wildlife, which then can get trapped and die. And the cups themselves break down into microplastics, and can get accidentally eaten by cattle and sheep, if they blow into fields.
The lining inside a disposable cup is usually made from polyethylene, a type of waterproof plastic. And in the rare instance that councils do employ someone to go along picking up all the roadside rubbish, obviously the wage is then transferred to your council tax. So not dropping litter helps save communities money.
And although paper is biodegradable, of course it comes from trees. This means that the thirst for takeaway coffee also harms our planet, by causing deforestation. Around 100,000 trees a year are chopped down, just to make takeaway paper cups in the UK alone. The most eco-friendly option is just to make coffee and home, and use a mug!
In fact, recent studies suggested that nearly all the coffee shops offering discounts for bringing a reusable cup had little impact. It can’t be that people don’t care. Perhaps the answer is to make your own coffee at home, take it with you in one of these smashing reusable cups – and forget visiting the chain store coffee shops altogether.
Stainless Steel Coffee Cups
Stainless steel is an inert material, so won’t affect the taste of your drink. FOSH Travel Mug is an elegant stainless steel coffee baker, to keep drinks hot or cold. Perfect for coffee, tea or smoothies, the inside stainless steel beaker can be used like a disposable cup, and the outside stays cool. In several colours.
Rice Husk Coffee Cups
HuskCup is a coffee cup made from rice husk, leftover from the harvest. The lid and sleeve are made from silicone, which stops your hands getting too hot (this is made from sand, and although not biodegradable, will last years, and does not break down into microplastics). Custom designs offered.
Bamboo Coffee Cups
Bamboo is as fast-growing grass (not the same as green shoots eaten by pandas, but we have to take care not to have land cleared to grow more, as this will create monocultures). Bamboo cups should not be left in water as they will biodegrade away!
Nought Bamboo Coffee Cup has a nice simple Scandinavian design. The silicone lid was designed by baristas with an extra-secure fit and a lip on the drinking hole. The sleeve is heat-resistant. The cup is made from a mix of bamboo, corn starch and melamine, dishwasher-safe. Not for microwave use.
Silicone Coffee Cups
This is made with sand and fossil fuels, but is less likely to break down into microplastics, like conventional plastic. And one purchase will last years. This looks and feels like toughened plastic.
The collapsible Squoffee Cup is a nice 350ml cup is made from food-grade silicone, and can be recycled at end of use. In pink or green.
Reusable Plastic Coffee Cups
Circular & Co is the world’s first leakproof coffee cup, that’s made from recycling single-use coffee cups, designed to last 10 years. It has many colour choices, and a push-lid mechanism to minimise spills, with one-hand opening. It also offers a unique 360-degree drinking experience. It keeps drinks hot for 60 to 90 minutes and is dishwasher-safe.
Glass Coffee Cups
These are usually made from toughened borosilicate glass (the same used for Pyrex dishes). So they are not unbreakable, but are pretty tough (don’t handle with wet hands). Obviously it’s not good to use these near pets or children, nor outside in case you smash it (you don’t want to leave broken glass).
Atlas & Ortos has a silicone sleeve to keep your hands cool. It’s available in several colours: grey, navy, black, sky blue or cream. This cup is standard takeaway size to be barista-friendly.
Yuggen Glass Coffee Cup with cork sleeve, is ideal to keep hands cool, and drinks hot. In mint or black, it’s dishwasher-safe (remove the cork band) and complies with FDA and European standards.
Coffee Cups Made from Coffee!
Husk UK sells Aussie-designed cups, made partly from recycled coffee husk waste. This stylish sustainable cup can be used with the universal lid for travel, or universal saucer for home use. Keeps your coffee hotter for longer (due to unique thermal properties), and the smart design means no need for cardboard or rubber sleeves, to protect your hands from the heat. Dishwasher-safe.