Lifestyle,  Zero Waste

Why Your Reusable Coffee Cup Is So Important

Every year 100 BILLION coffee cups end up in the landfill. Did you know that most coffee cups aren’t actually recyclable? The coffee cups in most high street chains actually contain 5% of something called polyurethane plastic, this plastic is there to help contain the liquid and stop it soaking into the cardboard. It’s because of this 5% that most coffee cups actually CAN’T be recycled.

The little recycle symbol you might recognise on the sleeves of some of these cups is extremely misleading and caught me out for many years. It makes it seem like the cups can be put into the recycling but actually it’s ONLY the sleeve or the cardboard exterior, NOT the whole cup.

Coffee cup

Out of all the trees on the planet, 34% (thats 4 billion) of them are chopped down for the paper industry, that’s a HUGE amount. Coffee cups need to be made out of fresh paper, not recycled paper, I guess this is down to health and safety regulations. By choosing to use a reusable coffee cup you are helping to put a stop to the deforestation caused by single use cups.

A study on the environmental effect of paper cups showed that a single cup production and transportation leads to an emission of about 0.11 kilograms of CO2. Considering the deforestation of trees that absorb CO2 I’d say we’ve got a pretty big problem on our hands here.

Seven million paper coffee cups are used in Britain each day, amounting to 2.5bn a year. Only ONE in 400 is recycled. Luckily for us there are some amazing reusable coffee cups out there and all of them help stop deforestation, decrease carbon emissions and make a safer environment for animals. Coffee cups should not be found floating in the ocean and they should not mean wildlife have to die because of human selfishness.

Here are some amazing alternatives:

Keep Cup 

Ecoffee Cup

Eden Project Cup

Joco Coffee Cup

The Rice Way Cup

Hopefully one of those can fill that coffee cup shaped hole in your heart, why not add one to your Christmas wish list this year?

Keep recycling x


  • Rosie (@greenrosielife)

    I was furious to find that when we travelled on Irish Ferries recently the only cups available in the canteen were disposable ones. Sorted that on the return journey and took my own cup on board. The lady on the till looked a bit surprised so I rather suspect not many others did the same.

  • nikkita0703

    Such a beautiful post – I didn’t realise just how much of an impact one small thing can have, I’m going to start making a change as much as I can and take my reusable cup with me. I may even go out of my way to purchase a flask as I always worry that the cups will leak. Such a positive and factual post!! (Also I’m new here and love your blog and photos!) Xx

    • theethicalevolution

      Thank you so much! Flasks are great, especially in the winter, you can make a drink at home and take it out and it’ll stay nice and warm so you don’t need to purchase one when you’re out!x

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