Today’s blog post is about my reusable cup
If it looks familiar, that may be because I’ve written about it before. What??? I hear you ask. Are you actually going to try and squeeze out another post about a boring old cup?
Well, yes I am!
When I wrote my first post back in January 2014, I was a newbie to the reusable cup gang (membership= 1 in the circles I move in!!), I had limited experience of using one and, given that my children were very small, I tended to avoid buying hot drinks because, well, they were never bloom’ hot by the time I got to drink them…
These days have passed – I now have a minor caffeine addiction and I am more likely to be found with my reusable cup in my bag than spare pants*. Oh how times have changed :-)
So, first things first, I’ll start with the introductions…
The white model above is the reusable cup which came into my possession around the end of 2013. I purchased it from the Onya website and while I was very happy with the look of it (similar to its disposable cousins), the feel of it (can be held without risk of burning), I really hated the smell of strong silicone which also affected the taste of the drink. The kids dubbed it Mummy’s Stinky Cup. Enough said.
As a result, I wasn’t sure I’d last the pace with this particular cup. However, while I wouldn’t recommend the model to anyone, I found that over time the smell and taste of the cup improved dramatically with time and plentiful washing, and as a result, the kids have moved on to bullying other inanimate objects.
In my first post, I estimated that I’d use my cup around 20 times in a year. While this was accurate based on my lifestyle at the time, I now probably use it now, on average, once a week. I seem to spend a lot of my time either in soft play cafes or waiting for my children to come out of their various sporting activities.
I think it is therefore realistic to estimate that I’ve saved over 100 disposable cups from landfill. Given that the onya website estimates the environmental impact of producing the reusable cup is equivalent to 10 uses of my cup, I can truly claim to have reduced my damage to the planet.**
What about everyone else? (Oh yes! I am adding a truly evangelical angle to this post!)
I certainly am alone every single time I use my cup. None of my friends carry one to cafes, and I’ve never seen anyone else with one unless they are bringing a coffee out with them from home. Every few months I ask staff in the two soft play cafés I regularly visit (that only serve disposable cups) if anyone else is using reusable cups yet and the answer, tragically, is no. Only me.
This isn’t to say that people are against using their own cup. Friends often show an interest when I put my cup on the table and they commend me for using it, it’s just that no one has joined me in bringing out their own cup. Yet…?
It’s also worth saying that the staff in cafes always serve me quite happily – I had initially wondered if anyone would refuse to use it, on the basis of some Health & Safety rule that I was unaware of. One member of staff told me that where he comes from in Spain, everyone brings their own cup and the cafes are left with shelves of unwanted disposable cups.
I had a little rummage around the internet to see if I could present you with some stats about disposable coffee cups. I thought I’d give you a few bullets of facts.
I searched for ages in the end, and while I came across lots of shocking facts about cups and the damage they cause to the environment as I expected, I found it confusing to get a clear picture of the issue today. There was little that was bang up to date (my guess is that the numbers of disposable cups being used varies widely each year as some people find reasons not to use them, and others possibly increase their usage). Also there was copious information about disposable cups that are used not just for hot drinks, but for water in workplaces, hospitals, schools etc., which I’ve chosen not to focus on in today’s post. I will however refer you to this article, written in the Guardian by Rebecca Smithers in July 2014 which gives us the following facts:
- Over 2.5 billion disposable cups are being chucked each year in the UK
- That is enough to go round the world five and a half times
- Nearly all of these end up in landfill, creating 25,000 tonnes of waste.
The more I think in my mind of these cups going round the world (or those that end up in landfill filling London’s Albert Hall, which is the other visual image she offers), the more I wonder why on earth more action is not being taken by governments, by businesses, by the person on the street…by me failing to turn back to get my own cup if I shut the door without popping it in my bag.
I’m certainly going to resolve to refuse disposable cups every (single teeny tiny) time I’m out, and if you feel the same way, then here are some issues to think about to find a cup that suits you before you make that all important purchase:
- Does it need to be safe or light enough to carry in your bag?
- Will it fit under a coffee machine?
- Is it the right size to fit in your drink of choice?
- Does it matter if the lid leaks?
- Do you care about the smell and taste of the material it’s made of?
Typing “buy reusable cups” or something similar into your search engine will lead you to a fine selection, but here’s an article by Erica Buist in the Guardian where she’s reviewed some cups for you.
Now you can see the benefits of refusing your disposable cup – and I’ve shown you how to go about getting your own – so…come on! Join my club!
How have you got on with your reusable cup? Would you recommend it?
*for the kids. FOR THE KIDS.
**note, as I’m still drinking tea shipped from abroad, using hot water and washing the cup, I am still causing an environmental impact…