Welcome to our ultimate guide to the reusable coffee cup. Packed full with over 100 facts explaining the pros and cons of each type of mug and also a review of the top brands !
Want to head straight to the pros and cons, best choices or reviews? Sure – use the table of contents below.
The world is making rapid changes and that is something to be celebrated! More and more, awareness is being raised and humans are taking charge to create a better environment. Because of this, many of our previously “normal” behaviours, such as producing endless waste, are being closely monitored.
Some people are even going as far as trying to produce zero waste! Maybe you recycle, have cut back significantly on trash, or are just learning the basics on how to take those first steps. In any way, you’re on the right path.
Purchasing environmentally friendly products is a great way to start the process. So many of us are on the go constantly. Schedules are jammed with lists of to-dos and it seems like we never stop moving.
This makes it easy to pull up to your favourite coffee shop drive-thru and order your usual on the go. The problem is, the amount of waste we create from takeaway cups alone is devastating. You can even see the proof in the numbers!
No matter if you prefer coffee, tea or just water for your travels- consider reusable cups. Even something you may consider a small gesture can speak volumes in terms of waste reduction. Let’s learn some more about that!
The Reality of Takeaway Cups
It may seem harmless. You go through a line, place your order, enjoy your beverage and toss it into the closest waste bin. No more thought about it, right? Out of sight, out of mind.
If you consider that not only you but millions of others are doing this each day as well, you can start to see how this can really add up. If you love logic, you may get a thrill out of seeing some statistics. If anything, it can put it into a clearer perspective for you.
Statistics of Single-Use Cups
On average, half a trillion cups are disposed of annually. To put that visually, consider that we have 7.53 billion people on the planet. For each of those people, that equates to 70 disposable cups yearly per individual.
So, can’t we recycle some of the 5,000 or more cups being tossed out per minute? What most people don’t know is that due to the composite material of many disposable cups, most of them cannot be recycled.
Even worse, one person can create 23 pounds of non-biodegradable waste per year. That is only by using one cup per day.
Astonished? The numbers are tremendous. That doesn’t even include the copious amount of other waste we dispose of daily.
The drinking cups are only half of the equation as well. That doesn’t even consider the 9.8 billion k-cups that go into landfills annually. Or the overall 230 million tons of trash being dumped in total per year.
We need to act and act now.
These statistics should prove that even the smallest contribution is quite large on the scale. By making small changes in our day-to-day living, we can start to make rather large changes in the long run.
Economies have gotten quite used to simply being able to toss away what they wish. No thought about it. Thankfully, seeing the devastating effects of our actions seems to be catching the attention of many.
Just think, if each person took to using reusable cups as a replacement to single-use takeaway cups, we would be cutting down on the annual waste epidemic substantially.
How Much Do You Understand About Biodegradability?
Biodegradable by definition is a substance or object capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. It is the way that nature breaks down elements no longer being used for its original purpose.
With as much as we create plastics, paints, rubber and other materials, a lot of everyday goods that are classified as non-biodegradable. This means these materials are incapable of being broken down naturally leading to filling landfills and oceans.
It takes up to 500 years for the earth to break down one singular plastic bottle. Only a small 27% of plastics are recycled yearly.
Of the percentage going into landfills, up to 40% of that is just water bottles. Literally, your drinking containers cause almost half of plastic pollution and waste.
Plastics make up 10% of the pollution of our oceans every year. It will sink to the bottom, become hardened and flake into pieces. Then, it seeps into the systems of living creatures.
We are producing so much plastic waste at such an alarming rate, it would take an insane amount of time to reverse the already abundant damage.
Why is Recycling Not Enough?
Many companies are aiming to make recyclable products. This is a great step, but researchers say it is not enough.
They explain it is because it is not forcing people to fully understand the waste impact, therefore it is not a solution for permanent change. It may be a step in the right direction but creating recyclables alone will not change the thought process for most.
There need to be bigger steps taken. The answer many are aiming for is creating an abundance of reusable products to cut down on throw-away items. Reusable items will teach people to be more conscientious about their choices.
Knowing how to reuse items will help mental awareness when deciphering necessities from frivolities.
So, where better to start than with your everyday routine?
How Are Reusable Coffee Cups Better?
There are several reasons reusable cups are better. Let’s go over a small list of long-term benefits so you can see it in black and white.
By investing in reusable cups, you are cutting down significantly on the excessive waste we’ve been discussing. One person alone can greatly reduce the amount of trash we are creating. Every small bit makes a difference. Mother Nature needs all the help she can get!
You can take it with you on the go. You can keep one at work for your daily drinker and another at home if you don’t want to carry it around all day. No matter what, it is always easier to have an available cup.
And just think! You won’t need to stop off at a trash bin or unload a weeks-worth of cups from your floorboards when you stop at the gas station.
You won’t have to pay for a new cup every time you go to your favorite café. Some coffee shops even offer discounts when you bring your own cup! This is a great way to encourage others to drink from reusable cups.
The reusable cup or cups you purchase will end up paying for themselves in no time. Any type you choose will typically last several years. Some last longer than others depending on care and materials.
You can even take a cup of joe or iced water from home instead of purchasing from another location every day. Not only will that save on cost, but it will save you time as well. No more going out of your way needlessly.
You know when you take the sip from a cardboard takeaway cup and you can quite literally taste it? No more of that with your own reusable cup. There won’t be any hint of chemicals, paper, or plastic.
You can drink experiencing only the freshness of the beverage itself. No bad aftertastes, no encountering harmful additives.
There is no argument here that they simply look better. Most designs are sleek and well-designed. You can find one in virtually any style, color or material you wish. It just looks far better than carrying around a plastic or cardboard cup.
You can easily find one that suits your sense of panache and not have to toss it out after a singular use.
Anyone who has ever used disposable cups knows how quickly your beverage loses its temperature. No matter if you have a hot or cold drink, it becomes room temperature incredibly fast.
Almost every reusable cup is designed with an insulator to maintain the temperature of the beverage. Some materials are better for insulating and last longer than others. Depending on your preference, you can easily find one to match your needs.
External Temperature Moderation
In addition to the fact they maintain the temperature of your drink, you also won’t have one scolding or freezing your hands. Because of the design, it is made to keep the hotness or coldness in while not affecting the exterior.
No more sleeves necessary, which is just another wasteful additive you’ll be evading.
There is nothing more annoying that those flimsy lids that never quite seem to stay on how they are supposed to. When you are on your way to work or to another event, is there anything worse than spilling something down the front of your shirt?
Not to mention the fact that you are frozen or scolded in the meantime! Also, you can avoid spills in your car. You can turn a fast corner or make an abrupt stop without saturating your vehicle.
Most reusable cups come with a sealed lid and closable drinking piece that you can use, completely avoiding any spill hazards.
Throwaway cups are made from a combination of chemicals that simply aren’t good for you. Maybe you have heard of the chemical BPA. BPA, or bisphenol A, is a chemical used as a resin coating to line the cup.
When it is used in cups, it has been linked to many health issues upon consumption. Not only can it show up in your blood and breastmilk, but it can also cause health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and liver disease. Yikes!
Reusable cups are BPA-free, so you won’t worry about introducing that into your system daily. Maybe exposure here and there won’t hurt, but when you consider everyday use, that is when you realize just how harmful it can be.
No messes for you. You simply use your cup, wash or rinse it out, and repeat. There is no hassle. Most of them are also dishwasher safe, though you will have to check the labels. This way, you can just pop it in with the rest of your dishes and call it a day!
What Types of Reusable Cups Are Available?
With the growing demand for reusable cups, the variety is growing tremendously. There are several different products to choose from. Some companies specialize in certain materials while others carry quite a few types.
The type you wind up with will greatly depend on your preference as well as your needs. So, just how many kinds of reusable cups are floating around the marketplace? Let’s explore.
Bamboo reusable cups are growing in popularity- and for good reason. Not only is bamboo a fantastic material for reusable cups, but it is also great for cutlery and dish replacements.
The bamboo plant itself is a highly plentiful, beautifully resilient plant. It can be cut and regrown, producing bountiful harvests. Unlike chopping down a one-of-a-kind tree that will never rise again, bamboo is a guilt-free yield.
Although it is a plant, not wood, it is extremely durable. When compared to wood, it is both lighter and has been proven to be three times stronger. It is also more flexible than steel, making it able to withstand more pressure before breaking.
Bamboo cups are made from resin, cornstarch, and broken-down bamboo fibres. These three simple ingredients provide an outcome of a perfectly simple, biodegradable design. It is eco-friendly and can last several years.
Are bamboo cups dishwasher safe? Sure most of them are, but not microwavable. The intense heat of the microwave can warp or destroy the components prematurely, degrading the life of your cup. While mostly dishwasher safe, do exercise caution and always check the bottom of the cup to be certain it is compatible.
These cups, with proper care, can last years. Once you are finished with the cup, you can dispose of it knowing that it will take less than a year to fully break down. You can give it right back to the earth!
Bamboo reusables come in various colours, patterns, and styles. You can find ones that have a beautiful natural bamboo look. Then, you can find others with eye-catching designs and bold colours. The style possibilities are endless!
They also tend to be on the cheaper end compared to other choices, costing an average of £15-£20 GBP / $20-$25 USD. However, you can pay much more or much less, depending on your preference.
Glass cups have been around for a very long time and are no stranger to the drinking world. Not only is it widely used, but it has also come a long way in overall design. This has helped it become less breakable and more durable over time.
Reusable glass cups come in a variety of colours and designs. Typically, they have the classic café feel with a band made of corkboard or silicone. They are highly desirable as far as looks go, giving a sleek and sophisticated vibe.
They also work well with maintaining the temperature of the drink. Cold drinks stay cold, hot drinks stay hot. They may not be as efficient in this department as, say, a stainless steel cup, they still perform decently in this arena.
While the KeepCup is notably common among glass cup options, mason jars are starting to become trendy as well. Folks have taken mason jars and formed nicely sealable lids to use as reusable takeaways. The responses from buyers seem to be positive.
Glass is notorious for being easily cleanable. They are very easy to wash, rinse and wipe out. They also provide a clean, crisp drinking experience, so you aren’t getting any hints of plastic or other unpleasant flavours added to your brew.
While the glass option may be a more fragile material than others, it still does the job and does it well.
Recycled Material Cups
Companies are really catching on to the epidemic of throwaway cups. Because of that, many are finding ways to take discarded materials that are very hard to break down and reusing them for cups.
If people begin to recycle their used cups, companies are taking this material and producing new cups. It seems like a correct incentive to get people to dispose of them correctly.
Then, when they are produced again, they can be manufactured as reusable cups. This is a great idea, taking what would have wound up in a landfill or ocean and turning it into an ecological product.
This is one way to raise awareness and get people to make better choices when tossing things mindlessly into the garbage. Certain companies believe that if you give people the initiative to recycle these materials, similar behaviours will extend, ultimately creating a domino effect.
The idea behind this design is for these cups to get the most use out of the materials they were made with originally. Since these materials cannot be broken down naturally, being turned into a product multiple times is a great way to get full use from them.
They can last up to a whopping 10 years with proper care as well. So, once you have diminished the life of your recycled cup, you can toss it into a recycling bin again to repeat the process.
Stainless Steel Cups
Stainless steel is a fabulous choice for reusable cups. They are among the most durable, best insulated, and most indestructible types of cups you can buy on the market.
They are 100% recyclable. Once you are finished with your cup, you can easily recycle it as intended and know that it will be able to be reused for a multitude of products.
You may not even have to! Stainless steel cups can quite literally last you a lifetime. They do not break down with constant use, so they are troopers about wear and tear.
Stainless steel is exactly that- stainless. They are completely rust-proof, so you never have to worry about corrosion. They are safe to be thrown in the dishwasher or washed by hand.
These cups are particularly useful for activities such as camping or traveling outdoors. They are very durable and therefore can handle the harsh terrain if dropped. They are also not sensitive to weather elements, so you won’t have to worry about them in rain or other unfavourable conditions.
Stainless steel is an excellent material for maintaining temperature. On average, a stainless steel thermal cup can keep cold beverages cold up to 24 hours and hot beverages hot up to 6 hours. That is a pretty impressive stretch!
Many reusable mugs are lined with stainless steel on the inside since it is such excellent thermal material.
When it comes to longevity, durability, and recyclability, these reusable cups are top-notch.
Ceramic is a great material for travel mugs when it comes to taste. Possibly the best, if you are a real lover of pure flavours. Because ceramic neither absorbs nor imparts flavours, it simply gives you only the raw taste of your beverage.
Something many people complain about when drinking from certain materials is the taste transfer. There is sometimes just a hint of something other than what you are drinking. This can put people off.
With ceramic, that won’t be a concern. It is a totally neutral, flavourless material.
As for everyday use, completely ceramic mugs can be a bit heavy for toting around. However, many reusable cups use ceramic as a thermal liner for their product as opposed to using it for the entire design.
While ceramic does keep beverages hot longer than a glass cup, it is still not the highest in ranking when it comes to temperature maintenance.
Ceramic is not as popular a choice as some of the others listed, but many prefer ceramic cups!
Silicone offers something the others do not- collapsibility. Because it is extremely flexible, they are made into collapsible reusable coffee cups that you can store without hassle.
One main concern with reusable cups is that many are tossed into a cupboard among other cups and not used for their intended purpose. Silicone collapsible cups were created in an effort to change that.
If someone can safely collapse and stow away their cup so it is not taking up valuable space after use, this may prompt them to want to take it more. It is rather convenient after all! Plus, it is extremely lightweight so you will barely notice you have it.
When it comes to trying to do your part in saving the environment, it is important to make purchases that you will continue to use. If you don’t commit, you aren’t fulfilling your mission.
Choosing something that fits in with your lifestyle is crucial. This may be a very attractive feature for someone who does not like to lug around extras or simply does not have the space.
Also, silicone is an incredibly safe material. It is naturally BPA and BPA free. It also does not release any chemicals when heated up, so you never have to worry about any harmful side effects on your body.
Silicone cups are extremely durable, as they are flexible and do not break. The material is also quite strong, so you don’t have to worry about tearing or premature material breakdowns.
When it comes to convenience, collapsible silicone cups take the cake.
Some reusable mugs come with a design that warrants straw use. We all know, straws mostly are designed from plastic. Over 500 million plastic straws are thrown away each day. The great news about this is, there are reusable alternatives.
The even better part is, these straws are made primarily of the materials we have already discussed! Most are made from bamboo, stainless steel, silicone or glass. You can purchase these separately or sometimes it can come included with your cup.
Silicone is a more popular material for reusable straws due to its flexibility. It is great for children, as there is no breakage. You can also chew on it to no effect.
Do be careful if selecting a silicone straw, however. Pricing speaks volumes here. The cheaper you go, the more likely that they cut corners in production. You want to make sure you are getting a food-grade silicone product to ensure it is the safest for you!
Which Reusable Cups Are the Best?
When it comes to choosing the best eco friendly coffee cups for your daily life, you can read reviews all day long. The bottom line is, there is going to be one type that you will favor. What works for someone else may not work for you.
There will be a material you like best or an overall design that works for your lifestyle. There are many things you can ask yourself before purchasing to know if you are making the right choice.
Before you choose, answer a few simple questions:
What am I going to use it for the most?
This is a crucial question. Do you need this most to keep your coffee warm for hours? Do you need something to take on frequent hikes? Are you looking for style? Convenience?
Your answer will point you in the right direction.
How do I feel about taste interference?
As mentioned before, certain materials can leave hints of flavor. Does this bother you? If so, researching the types that are less likely to give you that sensation is going to be better.
How long do I expect this cup to last?
Do you want a cup that will last a year or two? A lifetime? Knowing the life of your product before you invest is going to be a big deal.
This will also affect how much you will be spending upfront. A longer lasting cup will likely be a higher dollar product. This is standard.
Are you willing to make a more expensive investment initially for a product you can keep, or would you prefer a shorter lifespan?
Am I likely going to give up after a few times of use?
If the answer may be yes, ask yourself if this is because of convenience. If you will give up possibly due to it being a hassle to tote the cup around with you daily, consider other options.
You can even have one for work, one for home. This way you won’t have to always remember to clean it or take it with you every day.
You can also consider collapsible cups if the issue is space. You definitely have options to keep your interest.
Most Popular Brands in Each Category
It may help you navigate easier to know which brands offer the best product overall. Many companies are taking on a similar mission to improve our planet and eliminate unnecessary waste. But it is also comforting to know if a company is authentically seeking change.
It can be overwhelming to find the best goods. After all, you want quality and want to know that the product you have chosen is what is claimed to be.
Here are some of the top brands in each material so you don’t have to do so much research!
Bamboo: eCoffee Cup
has made it their mission to give the best bamboo products on the market. The cups are not only affordable, but they are also adorable!
They come in various styles and colours. They are very well-designed. Best of all, their mission is a pure one. They pride themselves on using only the best all-natural ingredients in their products.
This makes them a very environmentally friendly company. From their mission to their ingredients chosen for their product, they are doing their part to save this planet.
Seeing how well they are doing in the market, their consumers seem to agree!
KeepCup was a company originally founded by two siblings, Jamie and Abigail Forsyth. The two were baristas who saw the epidemic of the non-recyclable throw-away cup and opted to make a difference.
They wanted to incorporate into their design the coffee shop-style cup that people could reuse to cut back on takeaways and they took a chance to spread awareness to the public.
Needless to say, it has been a success. Their mission started out small in Australia and has expanded to over 65 countries across the globe.
Their designs have grown from the original but not by much. They have kept their integrity of design and most customers are in love with the stylish look.
The cups are chunky, classic looking that fit well in your hand. They are the perfect size for your morning coffee!
Recycled Materials: rCUP
rCUP has been very innovative in today’s culture, to say the least. They are the first company to turn paper takeaway cups into sustainable, reusable products.
Most single-use coffee cups are non-recyclable due to their plastic lining. However, this company opted to change all that. They use them to recreate a new version of what they originally were.
And they don’t stop there! This company is expanding to take other hard-to-recycle products and turn them into usable products.
Their reusable cup style is uniquely noticeable. They have an exclusive look and are crafted to reflect what they once were.
It is an inspiring mission this company has started and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Stainless Steel: Klean Kanteen
Klean Kanteen started its mission since realizing so many plastic water bottles were winding up in landfills or clogging oceans. They searched for a solution to end this prevalent issue.
In doing so, starting in 2004, they began creating environmentally conscious products to turn that around.
The company has veered toward camping and hiking gear, making products that suffice in those environments. It is no wonder they make some of the best stainless steel reusable cups on the market.
Their products are all BHA-free. They strive to make the highest quality products and it looks like they are succeeding!
The look of Sttoke cups shines with sophistication. They are very visually presentable and highly desirable in design.
The company has a mission to help create a sustainable future. They pride themselves very much in creating a better world cup by cup.
They certainly take on a creative feel when it comes to innovatively selling the promise of environmental change. Their determination and growth speak volumes.
The cups come in very few colours, but the product is extremely distinct. Their ceramic creations are cultured, making this cup one for that is easy on the eyes.
When it comes to brand, the cup will give that away at first glance. They look to be producing a sustainable product that will market their brand quickly.
This company was founded by three men who thrive on fatherhood. Because they are from New York where everyone primarily walks to their destination, it sparked an idea for them.
People want something easy to carry that is lightweight and storable. Especially people who are on the go constantly with a tote in hand.
They brainstormed ideas after vocalizing what a terrible mess disposable cups were creating for the world. Then, they came up with the silicone-based collapsible reusable coffee cup idea. It was a victory.
Their cups come in four sizes and a variety of solid colours. They are also adding to their inventory to give more variety.
Not only are they flourishing as a business, but their variety of products are also growing as well. It seems these dads have really caught the attention they sought.
These brands are not the only ones of their kind, of course. There are many flourishing companies creating excellent reusable products. This is just a short list of businesses on a mission to get you started.
Conclusion – You Can Make a Difference
It may feel small sometimes. You may feel like you aren’t doing your part to make as big of a wave as you want. But that is not the reality. By slowly reducing your wastefulness one step at a time, you are making the changes our planet needs.
Human beings have done a foolish thing by becoming so heavily uneconomical, but that doesn’t mean it is too late to reverse the damage. Standing still or adding to it is the only thing you could do to make it worse.
If you are proactively implementing positive changes, you are making a global transformation. Remember that if you start this process with one cup, you are essentially saving the planet from 23 pounds of waste annually.
Start with a reusable coffee cup, but don’t end there! Keep going. Together, we can make each contribution count.