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    There is a very high chance that if you are here, you are concerned about the impact which your coffee habit is having on the planet.

    Not only is that daily visit to the coffee shop denting your bank balance, but the cups given out are rarely recyclable, and are only used once in their life cycle. In response, there is now a huge number of reusable eco-friendly coffee cups out there which you can take on-the-go.

    From the usual plastic to alternatives such as steel, bamboo and glass, here are our top picks which both keep your drink warm and look great, too.

    Our Top Picks

    The Best Eco-Friendly Reusable Coffee Cups

    Reusable Coffee Cup Buying Guide

    Sizes

    They come in a range to match different consumption habits. If you like ordinary coffee or want the standard size, something around 350ml is perfect.

    You can also buy ones around 120ml for espressos and shots, or over 450ml for long drinks or an extra long-lasting coffee boost.

    We have listed all of the above in their millilitre equivalent, but bear in mind most are made in Australia or the US so come in fl. Oz. 4oz is the espresso size, 12oz is standard and 16oz is long.

    Materials

    Above, we have reviewed cups made from coffee husk, rice husk, silicone, glass, bamboo, plastic and metal. There are some other materials floating about out there too, and we fully expect further innovations as people start to become more aware.

    The latter two are usually the best as retaining heat, so great if you need your coffee to last. The former two are seen as the best eco-friendly options, as they take by-products of food manufacturing to make the cup so really do reduce the impact of waste. Bamboo is the world’s most sustainable crop so is pretty friendly, too (for the moment).

    If you travel a lot and need something substantial, glass or metal could be problematic as they may get damaged or break. But they’re seen as the easiest to clean and least likely to retain flavours, so could be best for those who like alternative hot drinks or the real flavour.

    It can mostly depend on the design of the cup, too, as opposed to the material. You may need a firm grip sleeve, or the drinking hole to be covered. You may even prefer a cup sans drinking hole to emulate an ordinary mug, or need something lightweight.

    In the end, it is down to personal choice, but choice is something you have a lot of when it comes to which reusable coffee cup to buy.

    FAQs

    Why are coffee shop cups bad for the planet?

    Every single year, over 500 billion takeaway cups pile up in landfills. In the UK alone, we use 7 million every day – that’s 2.5 billion per year.

    The rise in the number of coffee shops on the high street (which is a great thing) has unfortunately brought out the coffee industries worst side. ‘Single-use’ was Collins Dictionary’s word of the year for 2018, and that is a word which sums up coffee shop cups.

    The work that goes into making them doesn’t match the use they get. Many are made from virgin paper pulp, so trees must be felled to make this. As seeing this is a big sacrifice for a cup which lasts around an hour before being disposed of, it is a huge question mark over the industry.

    They aren’t recyclable, either. Despite many being made from recyclable materials and stating that they can be, many aren’t actually dealt with properly when they reach the centres. Most are made from paper but have a plastic polyethylene lining, which is tightly bound to the paper to keep your drink hot and safe. This can’t be separated easily.

    Then there is the fact that many still have drink residue on. They must be taken to special facilities, but as only three exist in the entirety of the UK, only around 1% of all cups end up being recycled.

    How can I wash a reusable coffee cup?

    Always read the instructions first. Because of the alternative materials, many aren’t dishwasher safe so have to be cleaned by hand. If they can be, it usually has to be top-shelf only.

    Travel and reusable coffee mugs can suffer from flavour retention and staining so always remember the following:

    • Rinse Out ASAP – You won’t always be able to give it a thorough clean straight away, but getting all of the coffee residue out should help
    • Clean After Every Use – Don’t be lazy and double use as you may with a china mug. For maximum hygiene and cleaning, wash in between refills
    • Baking Soda And Vinegar – This can not only banish stains but also any taste left behind. Wait for the reaction to finish, wash thoroughly and repeat if needed. This is also a great thing to do before first use to get rid of the plastic, bamboo or metal taste
    • Take Apart To Clean – From the sleeve to the lid and any covers, wash all bits separately to prevent build-up and germs. This includes around locking mechanisms and mouth pieces. You could use a small brush or soak them too
    • Air Dry – So you don’t miss any folds or corners. Always leave the lid off so no moisture and mould builds up

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    Our Philosophy is simple: “Love Coffee at Home.”

    We want everyone to be able to enjoy really tasty coffee in the comfort of their own home. It’s easy, and shouldn’t be exclusive to a coffee shop.

    We may receive a small commission on purchases made from the links on this page. This does not affect the quality of our recommendations or their prices. But it does help support our team’s hard work, which is something we are always grateful for.

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    Copyright © 2017 – 2021 Daily Espresso