Why Use a Travel Mug?
Today, many coffee shops and cafés are charging customers more to use disposable coffee cups. They are doing this to actively encourage the use of reusable travel mugs. But what are the reasons for this move towards reusable travel mugs rather than plastic throwaways?
One of the reasons for this shift is the effect disposable cups are having on the environment. Plastic cups are a go-to for iced beverages. But even though they are recyclable, most programs will not accept cups that are made of polypropylene. Because of this, the plastic cups are dumped at landfill which can take up to 1000 years to decompose. This pollutes land and water and is harmful to terrestrial and aquatic animals. The animals can ingest the plastic, suffocate or get caught up in the plastic waste. Using a reusable travel mug helps elevate plastic pollution and the harm it's doing to our planet.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 25 billion styrofoam cups are thrown away each year. Less than 1% of these cups are recycled. This means that the styrofoam cups take a very long time to break down and end up in landfill for over 500 years. Alongside the environmental harm, the compound styrene that goes into styrofoam and the plastic lids of coffee cups has also been linked to health conditions. Research by the World Health Organisation has even linked styrofoam cups to cancer. This should be reason enough to start using travel mugs instead of disposable cups.
Paper cups may seem like a better alternative to styrofoam and plastic. But they have their drawbacks too! Paper cups still have a lining of polyethene, a type of plastic which like styrofoam is slow to degrade. This plastic cannot be recycled because of its combination of materials. The glue used to hold paper cups together dissolves when a hot beverage is poured into the cup. This releases toxins including melamine and BPA into your beverage. Melamine and BPA can cause health implications on consumption such as high blood pressure and kidney infections. Is using a paper cup really worth risking your health, when you can use your own reusable travel mug?
It's not just the material of the actual disposable cup that is harmful to the environment. But also the cardboard sleeve that wraps around the cup. Although recyclable, the cardboard is often thrown out along with the single-use cup. This further contributes to the amounting litter that we throw out each year. Of course, when using a reusable travel mug there is no need for a protective sleeve to keep your beverage hot. This is because the travel mug has a double wall which keeps your beverage insulated for hours.
Drinking from a reusable travel mug also tastes much better than drinking from a disposable cup. It is also far healthier as there are no harmful chemicals leaching into your drink.
These are the reasons why more and more people are using travel mugs instead of disposable cups. They are much safer for the environment, your health and your wallet.