Less than 1% of the 3 billion disposable coffee cups used every year in the UK are recycled. The single-use cups are difficult to recycle due to a lining of polyethylene, so these throw-away paper coffee cups are contributing to the high levels of waste that have a harmful effect on the environment. To cut down on waste without cutting out your daily caffeine dose, swap to a reusable coffee cup. This guide will help you to find the best reusable cup.
How to Choose a Reusable Coffee Cup
As our environmental awareness increases, so does the number of reusable products on the market. Drinks on the go are as popular as ever with today’s busy lifestyles, but you need to make sure that you invest in the right kind of reusable cup for your own routine. If you need drinks to maintain their temperature for hours and hours and be completely sealable, you would be better off with a stainless steel travel mug or flask instead of a reusable cup.
Reusable coffee cups, on the other hand, look and feel more like a regular takeaway cups. They are usually made of eco-friendly materials such as glass, bamboo, or recyclable plastic instead. There is a variety of sizes to choose from as well – not all travel cups can fit under espresso machines. Reusable cups require cleaning after use, but not all of them are suitable for dishwashers either. You must consider these things before choosing a cup.
Reusable Coffee Cup Discounts
If being eco-friendly isn’t enough of a reason to buy a reusable cup for you, there is also the incentive of discounts on your drinks at several coffee shop chains. By bringing your own cup every time, you could save from £50 up to £130 in a year. Here are the places you can get discounts for reusable cups:
- Pret A Manger – 50p off on hot and cold drinks
- Patisserie Valerie – 50p off takeaway drinks
- Paul – 50p off (+ free drink and croissant when registering for loyalty card)
- Leon – 45p off (although they use biodegradable cups anyway)
- Starbucks – 30p off (excluding filter coffee)
- Costa – 25p off (excluding stores in Northern Ireland)
- M&S Cafe – 25p off takeaway hot drinks
- Greggs – 20p off any hot drink (free drink with a £2 Greggs reusable cup)
- Caffe Nero – double loyalty stamps (every 6th drink free)
Top 10 Reusable Coffee Cups
Below are ten of the best reusable coffee cups on the market from popular brands. Read the pros and cons then decide on the best cup for yourself!
- Material: Glass
- Size: 118ml, 177ml, 227ml, 340ml or 454ml
- Price: from £7
The “original” reusable coffee cup is the KeepCup, an Aussie brand that started 10 years ago. Made of tempered soda-lime glass and non-toxic plastic, KeepCups have possibly the biggest range of sizes and colours to choose from. A popular classic choice is glass with a cork band, which is made from recycled wine corks. A twist-and-click plug reveals the hole to drink from and seals it to prevent spillages in transit, even inside a bag.
- Pros – stylish, lightweight, customisable, dishwasher-safe, easy to drink from sealable swivel top
- Cons – risk of shattering despite its durability, less well-insulated, hand-washing recommended
- Material: Bamboo fibres
- Size: 250ml, 340ml, 400ml or 475ml
- Price: from £9
One of the most natural-looking reusable coffee cups comes from Ecoffee. Made from sustainable bamboo and corn starch, the cup feels like regular thick cardboard but can withstand being thrown into a bag into a hurry. It has a comfortable latex-free silicone lid and sleeve and a little stopper to prevent spillages from the drinking hole. It does only keep drinks warm for about an hour, but it is available in a wide variety of colours and designs.
- Pros – dishwasher safe, strong and secure, naturally sterile
- Cons – not microwave safe, easy to lose stopper
- Material: Rice husk
- Size: 240ml or 400ml
- Price: from £9
Biodegradable Huskup coffee cups are made from the shell of rice grains, a natural waste product from rice milling. The material is naturally moisture-resistant and is a very effective alternative to plastic. You can’t put this cup in your bag or be too active with it, as unfortunately, it is not fully sealable. However, Huskups have the benefit of being available in a range of subtly stylish designs, including licensed brands like Harry Potter and Disney.
- Pros: fully recyclable, microwave and dishwasher safe, larger size
- Cons: no way to cover drinking hole so not leakproof
Stojo Pocket Cup
- Material: Silicone (recyclable)
- Size: 236ml, 355ml, or 473ml
- Price: from £9.99
The Stojo reusable cup is ideal for on-the-go drinks, keeping them warm for around an hour. It is made from food-safe silicone and comes in a range of pleasant colours which make it look far trendier than a Pokito. The Biggie size has a removable straw, making it ideal for both hot and cold drinks. Its removable sleeve and collapsible cup will fit into the lid when folded down to become a leak-proof disc, easy to stash in a pocket or even a small bag.
- Pros: collapsible, dishwasher safe and microwave safe
- Cons: not so sturdy, can retain past flavours
- Material: Rice husks
- Size: 400ml or 500ml
- Price: from £9.99
Huski travel husks are silicone-free and completely sustainable. The three original Huski mugs come in pretty pastel shades like duck egg, rose, and pistachio. They have since expanded the range of colours to include bright coral, violet, and lagoon. Huski also makes biodegradable lunch boxes and cutlery, so you could get everything you need from them. The Huski cups are well-insulated, and the stopper for the lid can also be used as a handle.
- Pros: biodegradable, nice shape and appearance, large sizes
- Cons: slightly coarse material, lid stopper can be fiddly
- Material: Plastic polymer (recycled from old coffee cups)
- Size: 227ml or 340ml
- Price: from £11
The rCup is the first reusable coffee cup to actually be made from single-use coffee cups. Design company Ashortwalk collaborates with Simply, which is another company collecting paper cups. The fully-insulated rCup keeps hot drinks warm for up to an hour and a half. It is closer to a flask than a mug if you prefer that sturdier design. The push-top mechanism allows the user to drink from any angle and then seal the edges again to prevent any leaking.
- Pros: 360-degree drinking, leakproof, dishwasher-friendly
- Cons: hard to tell when open or closed, not microwave-friendly
Neon Kactus Cup
- Material: Borosilicate glass
- Size: 12 oz
- Price: from £12.99
Neon Kactus is very new on the scene, but in one year they have already made a splash in the reusable coffee cup market. Their reusable cup is made of a dense glass which is 100% recyclable. The cups come with an anti-slip grip and a secure anti-splash one-way lid. It is the ideal barista-friendly cup size for taking to coffee shops. The high-quality glass shouldn’t absorb flavours to ensure that past drinks don’t transfer and taint future drinks.
- Pros: microwavable, dishwasher safe, easy to clean
- Cons: plain-looking for price, limited size and colours
- Material: Recyclable plastics (thermoplastic elastomer and polypropylene)
- Size: 230ml/350ml/475ml all in one
- Price: £15
The ultimate reusable coffee cup for convenience and portability comes from Pokito. It is a pop-up cup which you can fold down to 6cm to store in your bag or pocket when you’ve finished your drink. The adjustable cup can hold 3 different volumes and has a tip-proof base as well as a clip-down lid. Pokito cups can look a little chunky and basic, but they are available in other colours such as all black or blush pink if you prefer the more stylish version.
- Pros: collapsible, 3 possible sizes, dishwasher-proof, sturdy base
- Cons: plastic smell, not microwave-safe, not the best aesthetics
JOCO Glass Cup
- Material: Borosilicate glass
- Size: 113ml, 170 ml, 227ml, 340ml or 454ml
- Price: from £16.99
The JOCO reusable glass cup is resistant to thermal shock and has a silicone sleeve to protect your fingers against heat when you hold it. This cup has a simple but pleasing appearance and comes in several colour schemes. It is not one of the cheaper options, but it is a good choice for connoisseurs. If you enjoy the minimalist style and a one-way lid, as well as holding a nice chunky cup, then this brand could be the best reusable cup for your needs.
- Pros: pleasant shape, anti-splash lid, dishwasher and microwave safe
- Cons: not leakproof, doesn’t fit in standard cup holders, expensive
- Material: Powder-coated stainless steel
- Size: 340ml only
- Price: £16.99
The Bru cup is a modern-looking reusable travel mug that can keep drinks hot for a few hours. It is only available in one size, but this size is perfect for most espresso machines, meaning that baristas love Bru cups. These cups are fully recyclable at the end of their life, but they are designed to last for a while with their scratch-proof coating. They are available in classic, bold, or pastel colours to suit all aesthetics. These mugs have an ideal size and look.
- Pros: smart appearance, variety of colours, no odours, no rusting
- Cons: small air pressure hole means it is not 100% leakproof