The Best Reusable Cups for Coffee on the Go

The Best Reusable Cups for Coffee on the Go
Photo by Goran Ivos / Unsplash

No Disposable Cup Day started in 2019, bringing yearly awareness on the 4th of October; why? Disposable cups are everywhere, from humble coffee to deluxe iced lattes. Data from 2016 suggests that Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups yearly. The UK uses over 2.5 billion disposable cups yearly, according to 2020 data

How Do Disposable Coffee Cups Harm Our Environment?

Disposable cups contribute to our landfills when they are disregarded. An ABC News interview estimates that up to 90 per cent of all disposable cups end up in landfills, equating to around 60,000 kilograms of plastic waste per annum. The BBC estimates that over 99.75% of all paper cups are not recycled.

Despite paper cups produced from, you guessed it, paper, there is a thin layer of plastic. The plastic lines the inside of the cup with the purpose of the drink not being absorbed into the cup. This plastic lining makes recycling difficult, so many are in our landfills. Cups also come with plastic lids made from polypropylene and a cardboard sleeve to protect your hand from the hot contents of your drink.

Demand for paper cups will drive a need for deforestation. Lauren Nicole Cox in 2014, who wrote The Effects of a Prompting Procedure On Coffee Shop Consumers’ Use Of Reusable Cups, made some shocking discoveries. Her article noted that Americans use an estimated 16 billion paper cups, equivalent to 6.5 million trees per year or 1,181,600 tons of wood. She also wrote that disposable plastic cups produce an estimated 7 million tons of plastic waste. With the data being close to ten years out of date, this data will be even higher, causing more environmental damage.

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Product Emissions

Emissions are created during the production of cups; The Guardian wrote that Intertek found a typical cup requires 0.58 litres of water to produce and has a carbon footprint equivalent to up to 60.9 grammes of carbon dioxide. Emissions are also created from landfills where methane, a more potent gas than CO2, traps heat in the atmosphere, likely contributing to global warming.

What Can We Do?

Consider sitting in the cafe where you can use their reusable ceramic mugs, perfect for catching up on some work, news or with friends. However, consider a reusable cup with a lid if you are in a rush or are after the morning drink before work. I have chosen a selection of brands paving the reusable revolution to keep drinks hot for several hours, perfect if you lead a busy lifestyle.

Moon Bottles

Reusable coffee cup in black, by Moon. Photograph: Moon

Ethics | Supports charities
Certifications | BPA Free
Size | 300ml and 450 ml
Sustainability | Compostable packaging
Price | £22.99

The high-performance Moon Insulated Travel Mugs are certified carbon neutral and 100% leakproof. They fit all car cup holders, and the double stainless steel walls keep your coffee hot for 5+ hours. Their mug features an easy 360-degree lid so you can drink from any angle; once finished, you can close the leakproof seal with a button.


The travel mugs feature a tapered base that fits any car cup holder. Perfect for any drink, hot or cold, the simple operation allows for distraction-free sipping while driving. All of their mugs are made using high-quality 18/8 stainless steel and come in a minimal colour, black. Finally, the base is padded to avoid any risks of scratching your interior or surfaces.


Chilly's

Reusable coffee cup in blue, by Chilly's. Photograph: Chilly's

Ethics | Recently launched Chilly’s Responsibility
Certifications | BPA Free
Size | 340ml and 500ml
Sustainability | Plastic Free Packaging
Price | £20 - £36

Chilly's make an extensive range of food, water and hot drink bottles. Their cups come in two sizes and two different types. All their cups designed for hot drinks are double-walled and constructed using durable, high-grade 304 stainless steel. This preserves the flavour and freshness of your drink without any tainting. The bottles have a rubber base, which Chilly's chose to reduce noise when moving your bottle.
Whether you want a plain bottle or a patterned design, Chilly's has you covered, and they offer engraving to add a personal flair to a bottle or prevent someone from accidentally taking it.

Unfortunately the links on Chilly's website do not consistently open to the correct page. Products and prices are taken from Chilly's cups range rather than their bottles.


Sho

Reusable coffee cup in green, by Sho. Photograph: Sho

Ethics | Over 10% SHO Profits Donated To Charity
Certifications | BPA Free
Size | 360ml, 370ml and 500ml
Sustainability | Plastic Free Packaging
Price | £10.99 - £16.99 - (RRP prices are displayed at a higher price but are crossed out)

SHO has three drinks to carry your favourite hot beverage: calix, pacto, and flexi. Their cups are crafted from Premium 18/8 (304) Stainless Steel and coated in tough and durable powder-coated paint.


SHO allows you to customise your bottle with different patterns or colours and engraving options. Alongside this, SHO can customise the colour of your lid.


Eco Chic

Reusable coffee cup in purple, by Eco Chic. Photograph: Eco Chic

Ethics | Member of Sedex (works to improve working conditions) & Global Recycling Standard
Certifications | BPA Free
Size | 330ml
Sustainability | Plastic Free Packaging
Price | £19.99

Eco Chic produces their cups using high-grade stainless steel to preserve the flavour and freshness of your drinks. Eco Chic's bottles are predominately patterned; however, they sell a small range of plain-coloured ones if you prefer to keep things simple. Their range can often match other items they sell, such as their bags and lunchboxes, perfect if you want one design to match multiple items.


Ocean Bottle

Reusable coffee cup in black with a blue accent, by Ocean Bottle. Photograph: Ocean Bottle

Ethics | Purchase pays for 1000 ocean-bound plastic bottles to be collected before they reach the ocean
Certifications | B Coporation,
Size | 350ml
Sustainability | Plastic Free Packaging
Price | £35

K8 developed the Ocean Bottle Brew in Oslo, Norway, with production moved to Shanghai. Ocean Bottle says their Shanghai factory has been rigorously vetted, featuring 15,000m² of solar panels and a high-tech robotic production system.

The Ocean Bottle Brew is barista-approved, with their design perfected for iced drinks. The bottle features double-wall vacuum insulation to keep your ice solid all day, and the 360° lid lets you take in all those sweet coffee aromas with every sip. According to the Ocean Bottles website, the bottle is leakproof and dishwasher safe.

At the end of the product's life, the bottle can be recyclable by emailing them with the word 'recycle'. The bottle has an embedded NFC-enabled smart chip, which allows owners to register the bottle to our Ocean Bottle Mobile App to fund further the collection of ocean-bound plastic (for free) each time a refill is registered.

Bottles can be bought in a range of colours and can be engraved for an additional cost.


Neon Kactus

Reusable glass coffee cup with a pale blue band, by Neon Kactus. Photograph: Neon Kactus

Ethics | Neon Kactus donates a proportion of their profits to Less Plastic.
Certifications | BPA Free
Size | 8oz, 12oz, 16oz, 20oz
Sustainability | One tree planted
Price | £16.99 - £18.99

Neon Kactus make a range of glass and insulated cups for your beverage. Neon Kactus produce three sizes: 8oz (227ml), 12oz (340ml) and 16oz (454ml). The glass cups (as pictured above) are produced using non-permeable, high-quality borosilicate glass and come with a coloured silicone sleeve. Borosilicate glass is known for its strength and is often used in cook and baking wear. The sleeve acts as a thermal shield to improve your grip on the product.

Neon Kactus also produce thermal cups in two sizes, 12oz and 16oz. The cup features the same thermal silicone sleeve which wraps around the PP5 (polypropylene) coffee cup and is food grade and BPA Free.

To find the products listed, navigate to 'glass cups' or 'insulated cups' on Neon Kactus' website.


Huski Home

Reusable coffee cup in purple, by Huski Home. Photograph: Huski Home

Ethics | Uses rice husk is the outer shell of a grain of rice which is disregarded from the rice industry.
Certifications | BPA Free
Size | 400ml and 500ml
Sustainability | Using a waste product destined for landfill.
Price | £11.99 - £13.99

Huski Home is a family-run British brand utilising a waste product from the rice industry. The company says that rice husks are a potential biohazard if improperly repurposed or disposed of. The bottle features a twin wall design to keep drinks warmer for longer. On Huski Home's website, they wrote that drinks maintain an optimum temperature for up to 90 minutes.


Hunu

Reusable foldable coffee cup in grey, by Hunu. Photograph: Hunu

Ethics | 1% for the planet (as listed below)
Certifications | BPA Free
Size | 8oz, 12oz, 16oz and 20oz.
Sustainability | 1% for the planet
Price | £18.75 - £26.53 - Amazon Price (Everyday Green lists the same product cheaper)

I use a Hunu cup in my rucksack as part of my everyday carry; the cup shown in the image folds to a compact size. The cups come in four sizes, with the larger two arriving with straws for iced drinks. The cup is easy to carry and could fit in a pocket, taking the hassle of having a reusable.

The Hunu cup features a silicone, heat-resistant design, though the accompanying heat shield is required to hold the cup when filled with hot contents. I have taken extra caution when carrying my drink around in the cup as silicone is flexible, though the heat band fits snugly on the cup where the cup is more stable.

The official website redirects you to their Amazon page for America. For UK customers their product is available on Amazon UK, EveryDay Green or Green Turtle.


Bru

Reusable coffee cup in black, by Bru. Photograph: Bru

Ethics | 1% for the planet
Certifications | BPA Free
Size | 8oz, 12oz and 16oz
Sustainability | Currently in the process of doing a Life Cycle Analysis
Price | £17.99 - £21.95

Bru makes two types of cups: their travel mug, as pictured above and their coffee cups. Their cups are leakproof, giving you peace of mind when commuting, cycling, holidaying or just about anywhere else life takes you. Bru says their lid has an indentation line, which is visible only when your lid is in the 'closed' position, so you know when it's safely shut.

The mug's size and shape have been designed to fit all standard car cup holders. Bru Travel can also fit handle-attached bike cup holders into rucksack bottle pockets to enjoy great coffee on the go.

The base is made from high-quality 18/10 stainless steel and features a ceramic internal coating, and the matt powder-coated external finish reduces scratches and prolongs the life of your cup.


Circular and Co

Reusable coffee cup in black, by Circular and Co. Photograph: Circular and Co

Ethics | Neon Kactus donates a proportion of their profits to Less Plastic.
Certifications | BPA Free
Size | 550ml and 1 litre
Sustainability | One tree planted
Price | £14.95 - £19.95

Circular Cups are made from recycled single-use paper cups and Designed with practicality and circularity in mind. According to their website, circular Cups are designed for ten years of use. Their travel mug is 100% leakproof, providing peace of mind whilst you’re on the go. Circular Cups website says their cup will keep drinks hot or cold for 60-90 minutes. The cups are dishwasher safe, BPA and melamine-free.


Final Words

Hopefully, this blog post has helped show why reusable cups are essential to reducing the 60,000 kilograms of plastic waste per annum. There is something for everyone with different materials, such as stainless steel and plastic, to brands reusing rice husks and paper cups to limit what reaches landfills. If you have a brand you use, please let the community know by leaving a comment below.