If we all made the simple switch from single-use cups to reusable ones, the cumulative benefits to the environment would be enormous. And it would also save each of us few quid while we’re at it.
That refreshing coffee to get you going in the morning as you head out might not seem like a big deal. But once you’ve thrown the paper or plastic cup in the bin, it’s already been on a lengthy journey in contributing to environmental harm. And that tale of damage has only just begun.
The scale of the disposable cup problem
In the UK, cafe culture is booming. Research suggests that 80% of us who visit a coffee shop do so every week, and 16% of cafe customers pick up a cuppa every single day.
As a country, we get through a staggering amount of single-use cups. Estimates vary, but the figure is in the billions. The government thinks there are 2.5 billion disposable cups thrown away every year in the UK.
Worse still, the World Wildlife Fund estimate that the number will increase by a further 30% by 2030. And that’s despite concerted efforts by regulators, manufacturers and retailers to scale back the problem.
Even if you’ve taken care to place your caffeinated container in a recycle bin, there’s a good chance it will still end up in a landfill.
In 2017, the House of Commons heard that only one in 400 cups actually ends up being recycled.
For even the most diligent and environmentally conscious among us, until the manufacturing and waste infrastructure to handle the vast amount of disposable cups we use improves, we will each have to change the way we consume our drinks when on the go.
Lots of disposable cups simply aren’t recyclable
Even if you pop every used cup in a recycle bin, many will simply end up in a landfill. That is largely down to the fact that even if we think a cup is recyclable, it probably isn’t. Coffee shops may use what looks like paper cups to the naked eye, but they usually contain polyethylene to store hot liquids. But that stops cardboard from being recycled effectively. Specialist recycling plants can handle these cups, but there aren’t really many of them around.
Add to that the paper pulp that has to be used from cut down trees to make cups along with the CO2 emissions from their manufacture, and the scale of the problem becomes all too clear.
How much better are reusable cups for the environment?
The headline figures for how much better reusable cups really are for the environment are compelling.
Simply replacing a disposal container with one that you can refill every day for a year means that:
- 87.6 lbs of greenhouse gases could be prevented from being emitted into the environment.
- 76 fewer gallons of water would be used in the production of cups.
- 126 trees could be saved from being cut down in order to make paper cups.
- 12 lbs of discarded waste could avoid being taken to a landfill.
The bottom line could save you too
There are plenty of other reasons to ditch a disposable for a reusable cup, not least from a financial perspective.
According to Which? you could:
- Save £100 a year by taking advantage of coffee shop discounts that encourage you to bring your own cup.
- Save £6,000 over a five year period simply by making your own brew at home to take with you rather than buying on the go.
Reusable cups are really useful and they look great too!
Now is a great time to make the switch from disposable to reusable coffee cups. The travel mugs of old have long been ditched for stylish, practical cups and bottles that are safe and keep your drinks cooler and hotter for longer.
Paper takeaway cups don’t offer much in the way of insulation, so you’ll find your coffee turning cold quickly while your hands get hot by absorbing the heat.
Our super 1st edition bottles can even keep liquids hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours.
Newly added to our range is the Safari Travel Mug – perfect for any trip, long or short, and capable of keeping your coffee hot for up to 6 hours!
To find out more about our complete range of products and accessories, check out our online store.