The reusable topic of my reusable cup


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…


11 thoughts on “The reusable topic of my reusable cup

  1. I’ve got a KeepCup which I got late last year free with a trial of Pact Coffee (excellent coffee, btw). It’s ace, but a little on the small side, though it does fit a cappucino from my favourite coffee shop perfectly! I keep forgetting to bring it with me though… Main downside is that it doesn’t keep the coffee hot for very long and isn’t leakproof. However, the coffee shop does knock 20p off if you bring your own mug, so I really must start using it!

    I’ve also just got a Contigo travel mug to replace my old Starbucks travel mug. It’s ace – keeps coffee hot for ages and also means I’m less likely to stop for a coffee on the way to/from work.

    • Thanks for sharing, especially as I’ve been considering the KeepCup but want to get the right thing. Love the price reduction for bringing your own cup, more positive than the plastic bag charge (which I fully approve of anyway!)

      Happy coffee drinking, let me know if you take your cup out and you can join my gang 😀

      • The KeepCup is great if you’re going to drink the coffee then and there – it prob keeps it hot slightly longer than a disposable cup and does have a clip shut lid. Just don’t tip it up! Loads of funky colours and sizes, it’s just the one I got with the offer was an 8oz one, which isn’t big enough to feed my starbucks grande habit! Might get another one for that….

  2. I have progressed in the opposite direct and hardly ever buy coffee out now that work from home. However I do have a reusable cup which I take with me when I think I might need it. These days, however, I’m much more likely to take a flask of homemade coffee.
    My cup is a metal/plastic insulated job that I bought in the US about 20 years ago… I don’t think I’d ever seen one here at the time although they are common enough now.

    • Ok, you definitely can join my gang! Working from home must save loads of environmental problems in terms of take away food and drink packaging – and is much nicer too, I imagine! x

      • It can be a bit isolated (hence my love of social media), but it makes a huge difference to my environmental impact… first no travelling (although I used to go to work by bus) and then no temptation to go and buy stuff because I’m fed up at work, plus I don’t have to make a packed lunch, so not being able to motivate myself first thing and then relying on take out (with all the associated packing) just doesn’t happen any more. We are now buying all our tea and coffee packaging-free (thanks to you we gave up teabags about a year ago) so we are making progress. Sadly there is still so much stuff that comes wrapped in unnecessary plastic, but we are slowly finding other options.

  3. Very interesting post, I’ll definitely be considering getting myself one now. I spend a lot more time in the car lately, so having a reusable cup that doubles as a travel mug would be a good option for me! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I loved this post Westy! You made me laugh. I have some thoughts on how to persuade your friends to join your club of one…
    1. When you see them with a disposable cup, say “you don’t have a reusable cup?!” in your most incredulous voice, like they are the only one on the planet who doesn’t.
    2. Buy them a reusable cup for their birthday / Easter / Environment Day / Just Because. Once you know they have one you can work the guilt on getting them to bring it. They’ll have no excuse : ) repeat step 1 but replace the question with “where is your reusable cup?!” If they forget it. Just an idea! But I don’t know your friends – they might not appreciate this method!

    If you want to replace your cup, I recommend the glass KeepCup. They do 3 sizes – I prefer the 8oz. The one I have has a cork band for extra sustainability points!

    Other great thing about reusable cups…they act as an impromptu container. I probably use mine for leftovers / spare food more than coffee!

    Have a great weekend!

    • Aw, thanks for all of this. Again apologies for the delay (although this comment was a nice surprise as for some reason it didn’t show on my notifications). I’m not great at guilting people into doing things as when people do it to me I kick against them!! However one of my friends has complimented my cup and they have a birthday coming up, so I guess I know what to get them!! hope all’s well with you x

  5. Thank you for the idea! I’ve been thinking of switching to reusable mug since i do like to drink a lot of coffee during the day. Being a rubbish removal company owner i try to be a role model for my family – we’re still making the first step towards sustainable life – and small changes like this are a great way to set a solid foundation to build upon. I’ll be looking to get one of these as soon as possible. Thank you for the amazing piece of content and advice!

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