Never buy a throwaway cup again! That’s what we’re aiming for.
We now take our own cups to coffee shops and staff are happy to fill them. But you probably don’t want a porcelain mug in your bag, so what are the best reusable takeaway coffee cups?
In the UK, 2.5bn disposable cups are thrown away every year. Only 0.25% are recycled (according to an environmental audit committee report). We campers care about the countryside, so we ought to make a stand…or at least not add to the problem ourselves.
So, let’s find a cup we can keep handy. Maybe folding? Maybe insulated? Definitely nice to drink from. And while you’re thinking about cutting waste, have a look at our article on plastic-free tableware like plates and bowls, and ditch the disposable barbecue in favour of one you can use over and over again.
The nicest folding we’ve found is the Jerrybox – it comes in a variety of subtle colours, holds 350ml and is made of silicone. There’s a screw-top lid that gives an airtight seal to protect you from spills. It doesn’t fold completely flat, but it’ll tuck neatly into a bag or rucksack. From around £10.
Choose a gorgeous William Morris print or the gothic Dark Matter, Ecoffee makes fantastic-looking coffee cups out of bamboo. They have a silicone band for holding, a lid and a detachable lid section so your coffee can cool without having to take off the lid. Dishwasher-safe, but not microwaveable. 340ml or 400ml capacity.
Lots and lots of designs to go for – from around £9.
Another range with plenty of choice. We like the glass styles best. Glass doesn’t taint your water and it feels nicer to drink from. Most of the KeepCup mugs are made of toughened glass, which will stand up to a lot, but does take a bit of care. The Longplay, though, adds a second layer, made of Tritan, which protects the glass and also acts as an insulator.
You can also buy the ‘booster’ band to turn an existing Keepcup into a twin-walled one.
KeepCups are spill- and splash-proof, but not absolutely leakproof, so you need to keep them upright. They’re more cup-like, in fact. Loads of colours and sizes. We especially like the cork range, with a cork rather than silicone band. From around £11 to £25.
This campaign group is fighting for cleaner seas, and that includes getting rid of all that plastic waste. They sell bamboo reusable cups (400ml) for around £12. You’ll be spreading the word while you sip!
The Joco is made of sturdy, heat-resistant borosilicate glass (the same type they use in laboratory flasks and Pyrex). Lovely, sleek design and a large silicone band to protect fingers and the glass. Delightful to drink from because the lip is so fine.
The one-way lid means no more coffee splashes on the go, and the nose-dome feature means no more embarrassing nose-to-lid collisions. Just remove the lid for a cool-looking cup. We use the box it comes in as our cutlery holder when camping too!
Costs around £20
We’ve had a recommendation from a reader for the Contigo range of insulated mugs. Not exactly our choice because they don’t feel like drinking from a real cup. However, she says they’re leakproof and they look rather sleek. The stainless steel is tough too. From around £15.
Let’s not add to this…
We got such an amazing response to this article that we’ve decided to start a campaign. Nip over to the Campers Against Litter FB group and join us. We can share ideas, have a good moan and maybe take some action together. We’ll report back here at Campfire Magazine too.
And some ideas for cutting down on plastic more generally
Out and about
- Swap clingfilm for reusable wraps and silicone lids
- Carry cutlery in your bag, and consider keeping a plate, bowl, glass and utensils at work.
- If you like using straws, invest in a stainless steel one.
- Take your own containers to the shops for meat, cheese or foods from the deli.
- Buy fresh bread sold in paper bags (or no bag).
- Many supermarkets have paper bags near the fruit or bread; use them for the vegetables, too.
- Save glass jars and bottles for buying bulk foods and storing leftovers.
- If you don’t have a bulk-buy shop near you, use an online one, such as Suma or Infinity Foods.
- Drink loose leaf tea – most teabags are sealed with plastic. Make it easy with a sit-in-cup steel tea strainer.
- Where possible, grow your own salad and herbs.
- Consider getting milk and orange juice delivered in glass bottles.
- Swap plastic sponges for natural loofahs.
- When shopping online, add a note to your order asking them not to send plastic packaging.
- Switch to refillable bottles for detergent and washing-up liquid.
- Look for recycled toilet paper wrapped in paper. EcoLeaf and GreenCane come in compostable packaging; Who Gives A Crap in recycled paper.
- Try solid shampoo and conditioner in a tin (from Lush, for example). Swap your hand wash for bar soap.
- If you can’t give up cotton buds, switch to biodegradable ones with paper stalks.
- Use ‘magic’ reusable makeup remover cloths that don’t need cleanser or washable pads made of bamboo.
More ideas, anyone?