The best reusable coffee cups are ones that are made from quality materials designed to last years, and so don’t contribute to landfill waste. Most good reusable coffee cups also have a belly band to keep your hands cool, often made from cork (no trees are cut down to make it) or silicone (this does use some fossil fuels but does not break down into microplastics, and is very near in appearance and feel to plastic).
Monti Reusable Coffee Cup fits a car cup holder.The 350ml cup keeps drinks hot for 8 hours due to insulated double-wall stainless steel. The screw-on lid has a flip-top spout to lock tight, and the cup has a dent-resistant finish in elegant soothing colours. Easy to clean, they recommend hand-washing.
Most disposable coffee cups are made from paper or cardboard (requiring huge amounts of trees to be cut down yearly). In addition, growing on ‘sustainable plantations’ usually involves tearing down old-growth trees (homes to native wildlife) and then replacing them with fast-growing saplings, that require pesticides to grow and harvest them.
Disposable coffee cups also often have plastic lining inside (so they cannot be recycled) and plastic lids. If discarded in nature, the microplastics can break down and get accidentally ingested by land and marine wildlife (and the sweet-tasting mocha coffees etc can be tempting to native wildlife, also causing harm).
Of course, the most zero waste way to drink coffee, is simply to make it at home or work, in a mug! But if you like to visit coffee shops, invest in one of these reusable coffee cups. It’s a one-time investment (most coffee shops also give discounts if you bring your own mug, as it saves them money too). Then enjoy freshly made coffee by your favourite barista, knowing you are not contributing to the single-use plastic mountain.
Be careful what materials you choose, as some plastics when heated, could leak carcinogens. It’s unlikely this will happen as a microwaved coffee is only heated for a few seconds, but there are better options available than plastic or melamine.
Now Cup is an affordable reusable cup, made from recycled single-use paper cups and a snap-fit lid. Designed to last for at least 5 years, it’s insulated to keep your hands protected and your drinks warm, and can be recycled at end of life. Dishwasher-safe. In 3 colours.
Circular & Co Leakproof Cup is also made from recycled single-use coffee cups. Suitable for most coffee machines and car cup holders, this allows you to combine your base and lid colours to mix and match in 24 combinations. In 8oz or 12oz.
Nought Bamboo Fibre Coffee Cup is inspired by simple Scandinavian design. The lid was designed by baristas with an extra secure- fit and a lip on the drinking hole, for the perfect pour. The sleeve is heat-resistant.
Reusable Cups for Coffee Shops
Again Again (New Zealand) is an innovative idea, to help use of single-use plastic coffee cups. The company provides coffee shops with a fleet of reusable stainless steel cups, on a deposit or return basis. The customer just asks for an ‘Again Again’ cup, ideal if they forget to bring their own reusable cup, or don’t have one. Coffee shops who operate on tight martins don’t take on the risk of people not returning the cups.
Compostable Single-Use Coffee Cups
If you have no choice but to serve disposable coffee cups for hygiene reasons, contact Veolia, which has couriers to take cups off for recycling. Coffee shops can also now buy compostable single-use coffee cups that are made from bio-plastic (not perfect, but unlike most plastic, these do break down in commercial composting systems).