Are Reusable Coffee Cups Eco-Friendly?

  • By: Claire
  • Date: April 26, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Yes, reusable coffee cups are eco-friendly.

The ‘Disposable’ Problem

Due to the UK’s love for takeaway coffee, an estimated 2.5 billion disposable cups are being used annually in the country alone. Even though some companies actively promote that disposable cups are recyclable, which to some extent is true, only a measly 1% are actually recycled. While most of these cups are made from paper, it’s their plastic lining that makes them difficult to recycle which means they end up piling in landfills, incinerated and floating in bodies of water.

The paper component of disposables has its own set of environmental implications. Trees that have been around for years are being cut down to make a product that is only used once. This can widely cause deforestation, flood and global warming. Additionally, the entire manufacturing and distribution process of these single-use products produce massive amounts of carbon emissions.

Although grabbing a coffee in a disposable cup is pretty convenient, a single cup takes hundreds of years to break down. They decompose slowly that in the process they become ‘microplastic’ which is ingested by marine animals and these waste produce chemicals that are toxic to all creatures including us.

Reusable cups are eco-friendly solutions

The UK government is convinced that it could reduce plastic waste by imposing a ‘latte’ tax on disposable cups which is why many people are switching to reusable coffee cups for their daily dose of caffeine. Most coffee shops have begun offering discounts for patrons who bring their own cups as well.

Reusable coffee cups are made from highly recyclable materials like silicone, stainless steel and glass. Some are made from sustainable materials like bamboo and rice husk. While energy is still being consumed in making these products, it’s far less than what is used in manufacturing their disposable counterparts.

A reusable coffee cup made from glass which comes in either silicone or cork band is a good example of an eco-friendly product. Glass can be recycled while silicone and cork are biodegradable which means these materials break down naturally.

Stainless steel is one of the most common materials used in making reusable coffee mugs and cups. They are 100% recyclable and can be repurposed into something entirely different. They are also the most durable which means you do not have to replace them as often as you would with other products.

Bamboo reusable coffee cups will never be a major problem for the environment. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable resources on the planet. They can grow without the use of artificial irrigation and application of chemicals like fertilizers, germicides and herbicides. If harvested properly, bamboo trees would not cause soil erosion.

A simple step like switching to reusable products such as reusable coffee cups can strongly become a beacon for a greener and more sustainable life. Yes, we know that adjusting could be a bit difficult and inconvenient for some people but it’s a small price to pay. After all, we only have one planet, there’s no planet B.

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