What are reusable takeaway coffee cups?
Reusable takeaway coffee cups or reusable coffee cups are designed to be an alternative to paper or polystyrene coffee cups.
Thankfully you don’t see polystyrene cups all that often these days but you do see a lot of paper cups. We are a nation of coffee lovers and you can buy a reasonable cup of coffee pretty much anywhere you go, even garages and supermarkets.
The problem is that these single-use paper cups are made with virgin paper pulp (due to being in contact with foods) and have to have a plastic lining to make them waterproof. This means they are very difficult to recycle and so therefore mostly end up in landfill.
But what about the compostable cups you might ask. Yes, technology is amazing and we can now make biodegradable plastics from plants. However, these will only biodegrade in a commercial compost. If they end up in a bin bag with no air going to landfill then they are still going to take years to break down and they can’t be recycled either.
The compostable plastic pint glasses you may have seen often end up contaminating plastic recycling streams meaning the whole lot cannot be recycled.
The solution to single-use coffee cups
So what’s the solution? Well other than not buying so much coffee, which let’s face it isn’t going to happen any time soon and would have its own negative impact on businesses, employment and growers, the only real solution is to have a reusable cup that you take with you when you get a takeaway.
Reusable coffee cups are readily available in a great range of styles and prices so it shouldn’t be hard to find one that suits your needs, style and budget. And many are either leak-proof, insulated or both which is a big advantage over disposables. Plus if you opt for glass, stainless steel or ceramic you are not exposing your drink to plastics or any other chemicals.
Choosing to take a cup with you might take a bit of getting used to, hands up who forgot they had to buy bags the first gazillion times they went to the supermarket after the ban, but once you’ve got into the habit you’ll save money, be doing your bit for the planet and have a better drinking experience.
If you know you are prone to forgetting your cup try keeping one in your handbag, in the car or at the office. Coffee shops will also give you their BYO cup discount if you bring a mug from work. Or make a promise to yourself not to use takeaway cups meaning you either have to remember your cup, sit in and drink it, or go without.
Next up: What is the best reusable coffee cup?