Five of the best reusable coffee cups

The Guardian has looked at five reusable coffee cups, and graded them out of five according to the taste of the coffee, comfort, attractiveness, how easy they are to clean, and, just for a laugh, “clever points” to assist you, Comrade, in making the best possible choice in choosing your ‘One Love’.

Exert from The Guardian

The JOCO Cup.

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Reviewers praised the JOCO’s rubber grip and for being “durable, but light”. One person reported that “the seal on the lid is poor, so it leaks and drips”.

Our verdict: We hit it off with this cup straight away. It’s glass, which means there’s no danger of the taste of the coffee being affected, but there is danger of smashing. The tough choices we have to make in 2014.

We liked the rubber grip. If you’re clumsy, a giant band of rubber reduces the likelihood of it breaking when it, inevitably, meets the ground. Also, it stops the coffee burning your hand but feels warm and pleasant on your face. Is it weird to put a coffee cup on your face when it’s cold? Well, we did, and we encourage you to do so as well.

Our favourite feature is the lid – we disagree completely with the reviewer above. It clips perfectly on to the cup, and on the first try. On paper coffee cups the plastic lid seems to have a one in six chance of clipping on without careful maneuvering. We’ve spilled enough cappuccino down ourselves to have a healthy suspicion of lids – and probably too much to be considered intelligent. But now your days of lid anxiety are over. Major clever points to the JOCO.

5/5

The KeepCup

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A happy customer said the KeepCup “cleans very easily and I throw it into my bag knowing it won’t break”, but someone griped that “the Keepcup is really just a plastic beaker and so all of my drinks tasted of plastic”.

Our verdict: We can’t say we thought the drinks tasted of plastic, but it takes a moment to ignore the smell of it so the taste of the coffee is slightly affected at first. Another fantastic lid, with a moveable clip than clamps over the sip hole – very useful if you’re on a rocking train with a full cup of hot tea or coffee, and worthy of clever points. Unlike glass, plastic needs a more vigorous scrub to not be left with a stale coffee smell. Because of being forced to scrub and the slight plastic smell, we award this cup:

3.5/5

Starbucks Reusable Cup

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Starbucks love being thought of as green. For me they lost all eco-credibility with the strategy when they were found in 2008 to leave their taps running all day in order to combat germs – but we don’t turn our nose up at someone trying their hardest, so we gave their cup a go.

Reviews are mixed and some are quite funny. John Davies, vice-president of GreenBiz, gripes that the Starbucks reusable cup’s uncanny similarity to the paper cup has led to four of his cups being thrown away. This was in October 2013 so we can only hope he’s managed to hang on to the fifth.

Our verdict: This cup will please those who see Starbucks as a fashion label, and the takeaway coffee cup as the ultimate accessory. It’s incredibly light and only costs £1 (AUD$2.12), and if you use it instead of a disposable cup when you buy from Starbucks you get 25p off – so if you insist on buying coffee from Starbucks (and I realise millions do) this pays for itself in four drinks.

The real downside is that it has a short life – Starbucks only recommends it for around 30 uses (even less if you put it in the dishwasher). Is that because the cup falls apart after 30 uses? If so, it’s only marginally more durable than the 4 billion disposable cups the company sells every year. Or is it a way to keep reselling the reusable cup to their eco-conscious customers? Like the water bottle companies who say you could get ill if you reuse them – yet never expect to hear “brilliant, thanks for selling me a bottle of dormant diseases”, Starbucks aim to have 25% of all their drinks sold in reusable cups by 2015. We can see how those 25p discounts would add up – as would a monthly £1 bonus from a quarter of their customers.

1/5

BYO Cup

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Designed to look just like a brown ripple-grip takeaway cup, this one is made of silicone which is fully recyclable (BYO Cup suggests charity wristbands as its next use). Reviews are thin on the ground, though this chap had a good old gripe about the squishiness of the silicone cup, foreseeing a health and safety issues from people who grab it or push the lid down with too much vigour.

Our verdict: The design is clever, and the silicone is shiny enough not to be mistaken for a real takeaway cup and chucked away. We were pleasantly surprised by how little the silicone affected the flavour of the coffee. Unlike the other cups on this list it isn’t rigid, but bendy like rubber. You do have to handle it with care when it’s full of hot coffee, but we found the bendiness to be a massive plus since it can easily be squished into a full bag. It’s easy to clean as well.

The main downside is the lid is a bit fiddly to put on, so you’ll have to exercise the same care you do with a paper cup. At this point we’d already been spoiled by the JOCO lid so we were annoyed to slip back into our old spilling ways.

4/5

The Eco Cup cup

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With an average rating of three and a half stars on Amazon, this cup seems to be less popular than its predecessor, the double-walled ceramic “I am not a paper cup” cup. The newer, sexier model, the Eco Cup, has a similar silicone lid but fewer complaints of leaks. The Eco Cup is single-walled, like an ordinary mug, and has a silicone strip to protect your hand from the heat of the coffee – but reviewers are pretty consistent about the cup getting uncomfortably hot when full of coffee or tea.

Our verdict: The heat definitely gets through. If you like your coffee super hot, the silicone grip will get very warm and the porcelain much too hot to touch. Basically, it’s a mug without a handle, and the drink loses heat almost as fast. The lid is fiddly to fit on to the cup, and smells so strongly of silicone it almost entirely ruins the taste of the coffee if you don’t remove it. As it’s made of porcelain, it’s also quite heavy.

On the plus side, it’s a cute design and does look like a paper cup until you notice the gleaming surface of the porcelain. It’s also easier to clean than its predecessor, which had ludicrous instructions involving “boiling it in a pan with lemon juice” – with the Eco Cup, a rinse with washing up liquid will do.

2.5/5

Want to rate your cup? Leave a comment here telling us why your cup is your #OneLove

Till next time – End the Cup Madness

Responsible Cafes – Tackling Madness at its source

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Understanding and acknowledging there’s a problem is the first step in remission when dealing with addiction. In our convenience driven, consumer culture, our addiction with to-go plastic packaging is one that sees little attention in the consumer’s eye. But it is an addiction non-the less, and like most of our other vices. It’s also poisonous to our health and planet.

Fortunately Comrades, organizations such as the Responsible Cafes movement aim at treating this addiction by promoting the reusable revolution at the source of temptation – The coffee shop.

The program connects thoughtful cafes with conscious consumers by encouraging them to offer a discount to customers with reusable cups. By doing so they not only connect a community of knowledgeable individuals, they also promote awareness of the coffee cup problem by engaging every day customers in culture of reuse!

Coffee shops no longer have to be the villains in this story; they have the opportunity to be the hero with the Responsible Cafes movement. Consider the potential, If every coffee shop were to acknowledge the evils in using disposable cups, share their knowledge and offer viable solutions (like stocking reusable cups, see my blog on the best in business) we could start to heal from the damaging environmental impact this addiction is reeking on ourselves and our planet.

If you need help with dealing with your disposable cup addiction, check out http://www.responsiblecafes.org/ or www.facebook.com/ResponsibleCafes to find your nearest barista /counselor. They’ll give you everything you need to help yourself do the right thing and break the cycle of waste.

Let me know what you think, leave a comment and tell me about how you’re dealing with your disposable cup addiction. This is a safe place after all Comrades.

– End the Cup Madness

10 Genius Ways to C-upcycle!!!!!

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As we know Comrade, the paper cup problem is a wide spread problem on a global scale. One is which we have created solely ourselves in our endeavours to place convenience as our highest priority. But this doesn’t have to be the case Comrade, with a little patience, creativity and imagination those sad little cups can be given a second chance at usefulness.

Together the @TheTrashureRev and I have collaborated on 10 genius ways in which to create viable solutions to these once, one use and then useless, disposable paper cups. The Trashure Rev is an action initiative focused on the benefits of upcycling (if your unsure of the term, read my blog here) to reduce your rate of consumption / waste output / environmental impact. At the same time they inspire transformative, creative solutions to upcycling old materials and breath new life into what might have been considered waste, and turn it into “trashure”.

To find out more and see our other 5 genius tips, check out their blog here!

  1. A Seed starter system.

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This cute little seed starter will work perfectly for setting up your garden and giving those seedling the best chance at survival. Plus it’s so quick and easy!

What you’ll need:

  • Empty disposable coffee cups rain
  • Potting soil
  • Small spoon
  • Seeds for your desired plant.
  • A tray
  • Small pebbles
  • Glad wrap
  • A sharpie
  • Some scissors.

First, label each cup with the types of seeds you’ll be planting using the sharpie. Then cut a whole in each cup so that there’s some drainage going on. Then it’s a simple job of putting the potting soil in each cup, push a few seeds in each cup, cover the seeds in dirt, then set the cups on a small tray with some stones set in the bottom of the tray for good drainage (you’ll need this as the cups are made of paper remember). Water the cups and then cover with plastic wrap to create a green house effect.Place in a sunny area and mist the soil a few times a day to keep it moist,

In just a few days you’ll have sproutage!

2. A Hanging Planter

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Not only are disposable cups great for starting seedlings before transferring to a garden, but they also make cool hanging planters for small spaces or a learning project for your toddlers.

All you’ll need is some scissors, string  and the above instructions to put the together. So cute!

3. A unique Desk Organizer

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This little gem is neither costly or labor intensive you only need:

– Coffee Cups. The thin paper/plastic variety. Styrofoam ones won’t be easy to stick together but you can use them if that works for you.
– Stapler or Glue
– A little patience
And you’re done!

4. A Minimalist Wreath

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For those of you who work in Cafes, maybe this Christmas, you could repurpose all those discarded coffee cups selfish customers leave behind and make a funky minimalist wreath for your shop!

What you’ll need:

  • Some wire
  • Plenty of cups
  • Some srting / ribbon
  • A stapler
  • Some scissors

First make your wire circular frame. To get it perfectly circular, use a bucket or a small circular table to get the dimensions right and then reinforce the frame by twining the wire around itself. Then take your cups and the bases off them. From there, stack your cups on top of one another and then feed through the wire frame. To finish, staple the ends of the cups together and cover with the ribbon / sting and mount.

Easy Peasy!

5. Cupsicle Moulds!

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Instead of buying icecream this summer, why not you make your own!

Try this absolutely delicious and easy recipe for home made berry ice cream. (However you could literally choose anything)

What you’ll need:

  • Cleaned disposable cups.
  • Some teaspoons (no iceicle poles allowed – think of the trees)
  • A freezer.

Make up your desired ice-cream recipe, chuck it in a cup and add the soon. Place in the fridge and allow to cool.

You can either use the soon to hold the ice-cream or simply eat straight from the cup.

YUM!

See our other 5 genius ideas at The Trashure Rev now!!

We hope you enjoyed reading this post! Please like, comment and follow us – we will be answering any questions that you may have – until next time!

The Autonomy of the Disposable cup – A recap.

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For all those coffee snobs out, This is a real look at what you’re holding when you grab you’re morning to Go coffee.

  1. The Lid

– Made of Polystyrene which is not accepted in curbside recycling programs

– Polystyrene may leach toxins into food products, especially when heated

– Polystyrene is used to make styrofoam and is classified as a grade 6 plastic

– Of all the plastics it has been advised to AVOID use of grade 6 plastics all together

– after throwing it ‘away,’ a polystyrene lid will continue to exist for hundreds of years.

– Polystyrene has the potential to transfer toxic chemicals into the food chain because it eventually breaks into smaller pieces and animals often mistake it for food.

  1. The Sleeve

–  Though the majority of sleeves are made of recycled material, most sleeves don’t end up being recycled.

– Unrecycled sleeves make up about 2.8 billion pounds of trash every year in landfills

– A coffee drinker can save 6-10 lbs of paper waste every year by simply substituting the cardboard sleeve with a reusable sleeve.

– 3 billion hot cup sleeves were produced in 2011

  1. The Cup

– Most paper cups are coated with plastic a low density polyethylene or grade 4 plastic which means they cannot be composted or recycled.

– Paper cups may consume more non-renewable resources than cups made of styrofoam

–  Paper cups are generally manufactured from virgin materials.

–  In 2006, Over 6.5 million trees were cut down to make 16 billion paper cups used by US consumers only for coffee in 2006, using 4 billion US gallons of water and resulting in 253 million pounds of waste.

– Overall, North Americans use 58% of all paper cups, amounting to roughly 130 billion paper cups.

–  Today it is estimated twenty million trees are cut down every year just to manufacture paper cups.

In conclusion, our To Go culture of coffee is not sustainable. It is damaging to the environment and our health. Today I am pledging to break my own habit of using paper cups and advocating that you also bring your own reusable to-go cup to your local shop, or sit for 15 minutes and enjoy a warm beverage in a ceramic cup at your cafe.

Continue reading “The Autonomy of the Disposable cup – A recap.”

Disposable Cups & Consumerism – Real feels.

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A common reaction to the excessive use of disposable coffee cups is: “Why donʼt we just recycle them all?”  A study conducted by the The IPSOS Focus Groups in Toronto in 2009 indicated that almost all participants believed coffee cups to be recyclable.

For most people, a cup of coffee or a hot beverage is an integral part of their day. Most of us even consider it to be a solemn rite or ritual to be performed with utter reverence to their divine barrister deities.

Its estimated that 70 percent of coffee cups are used as part of a our daily routine or ritual (Source Data: IPSOS 2008) to keep people going or simply to treat themselves to a steaming mug of their favourite roast.

Yet, consumer attitudes towards the environmental repercussions utilising disposable cups are generating are perpetuated by persistent convictions in that placing disposable cups into the recycling bin is green enough.

According to Shana Weber, the manager of sustainability at Princeton University, many people think recycling is equal to sustainability and because recycling generates a ʻfeel goodʼ effect, consumers donʼt feel the need to change their habits to reduce waste by using a reusable cup.

We live in a society where markets dictate our actions, whether consciously or not, and therefore, in order to sell us more, will hid the ugly underbelly or truth that underpins that entire commodity if necessary.

Disposable packaging products are no different.

So how has this icon become synonymous with our coffee drinking experience?

As far as habits and rituals go, the coffee run can sometimes be a tricky one to alter. For many of us, it’s ingrained as a two or three a day habit and one that is interconnected with socialising, networking and meetings. It can also be highly stylised and an individualised habit, with everyone having his or her preferred coffee, café and disposable cup. The takeaway coffee cup serves as a brand or label and in many ways, receiving your takeaway coffee is an incidental status symbol, as it shapes the identity of the user and café.

Marketing and advertising create the foundations for the ways in which we, as consumers, shape our perceptions, convictions, habits, beliefs and actions. We are apart of a larger chain of interrelated events in which media and advertising manufacture our emotional attachments / world convictions (affect theory) in order to sell their proscribed utopian vision = $$$$ for them and (believed) happiness within the consumer

Perhaps this thought-provoking video, by Gary Turk will help to examine how consumerism has taken over our lives and the implications of living in a society where markets create problems so that they can sell us solutions as a way in which to further examine this issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__9-VgvZYWM Continue reading “Disposable Cups & Consumerism – Real feels.”

The ‘Plastic Tide’ in numbers – Where does your cup go?

A worker spreads out plastic bags for recycling at Dombivili on the outskirts of Mumbai December 5, 2009. India set a goal on Thursday for slowing the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions, the last major economy to offer a climate target four days before the start of U.N. talks on combating global warming. REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA ENVIRONMENT EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY)

In this chapter of the Disposable cup book of scares we will be dealing with some of the staggering facts surrounding the consumption of plastics in our society.

Disposable cups, Comrade, are contributing to the overwhelming global plastic crisis we humans find ourselves in. For it is a problem we humans alone have created as plastic is a substance the earth just cannot digest.

The facts that follow have been sourced from the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Their movement is to create a plastic free would and encourage individuals to deny plastic products in their every day lives. As you’ll soon discover Comrade, to achieve this goal would benefit the planet on a global scale.

But I’ll let the facts speak for themselves…

Plastic never goes away.

Plastic is a durable material made to last forever, yet illogically, 33 percent of it is used once and then thrown away. Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.

Plastic piles up in the environment.

Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year. Only 8 percent of that gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, is incinerated, or becomes the invasive species known as  ‘litter.’

Plastic spoils our groundwater.

There are thousands of landfills in the United States. Buried beneath each one of them, plastic leachate full of toxic chemicals is seeping into groundwater and flowing downstream into lakes and rivers.

Plastic poisons our food chain.

Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans and waterways, are eating microplastics and absorbing their toxins. The substance displaces nutritive algae that creatures up the food chain require.

Plastic attracts other pollutants.

Manufacturers’ additives in plastics, like flame retardants, BPAs and PVCs, can leach their own toxins. These oily poisons repel water and stick to petroleum-based objects like plastic debris.

Plastic affects human health.

Chemicals leached by plastics are in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

Plastic threatens wildlife.

Entanglement, ingestion and habitat disruption all result from plastic ending up in the spaces where animals live. In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1.

Plastic costs billions to abate.

Everything suffers: tourism, recreation, business, the health of humans, animals, fish and birds—because of plastic pollution. The financial damage continuously being inflicted is inestimable.

TAKE THE 4Rs PLEDGE

REFUSE disposable plastic whenever and wherever possible. Choose items that are not packaged in plastic, and carry your own bags, containers and utensils. Say ‘no straw, please.’

REDUCE your plastic footprint. Cut down on your consumption of goods that contain excessive plastic packaging and parts. If it will leave behind plastic trash, don’t buy it.

REUSE durable, non-toxic straws, utensils, to-go containers, bottles, bags, and other everyday items. Choose glass, paper, stainless steel, wood, ceramic and bamboo over plastic.

RECYCLE what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. Pay attention to the entire life cycle of items you bring into your life, from source to manufacturing to distribution to disposal.

Subscribe to Plastic free times – End the Cup Madness

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Disposable cups = Disposable trees

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How many trees are cut down every year to create single use disposable cups for the sake of convince?

As you’ll sadly remember Comrade, it’s estimated that 500 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill every year. That’s one million cups a minute, every hour, every day of every year.

We know the appalling statistics – we witness them on a daily basis.

What’s even more staggering Comrade, is the ugly underbelly that underpins the manufacturing industry for these tiny heinous products.

Deforestation: According to Sustainability Is Sexy more than 6.5 million trees were cut down in 2006 to create the 16 billion paper cups thrown away.

Why don’t manufacturers use recycled paper? Firstly, FDA regulations are strict when it comes to allowing recycled paper pulp to be in direct contact with food and beverages. Secondly, recycled paper isn’t strong enough to hold a liquid.

Therefore, most paper cups are made from 100% virgin paperwood.

Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400% in the past 40 years, with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper manufacture.

Paper-making is a harsh, destructive extremely resource intensive process.

Not only does it involve stripping the land to create wastelands and deserts, the pulping industry also contributes devastating environmental impacts.

Such as air pollution, water pollution and waste.

Air pollution:

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are all emitted during paper manufacturing. Nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide are major contributors of acid rain, whereas CO2 is a greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.

Water pollution:

Wastewater discharges for a pulp and paper mill contains solids, nutrients and dissolved organic matter which will dissolved in fresh water, exacerbate eutrophication (the ecosystem’s response to the addition of artificial or natural substances)

of fresh water bodies and (in sever cases) kill higher living organisms.

Waste:

Paper waste like other wastes faces the additional hazard of toxic inks, dyes and polymers that could be potentially carcinogenic when incinerated, or comingled with groundwater via traditional burial methods such as modern landfills.[1]Fortunately most the paper industries in the US, Australia and Europe manage their forestry with sustainable practices but the production of paper products still continues to have a profound effect on our planet.

Trees are like Carbon Dioxide sponges and with every dimished tree we remove the planets natural Carbon Dioxide filter and also release more carbon into the atmosphere from the soil.

(The process of Carbon absorption by trees compacts into the soil where, after millions of years, it creates the fossil fuels.)

Cutting down trees, exposes this soil and allows this carbon stored in the soil to be released back into the atmosphere.)

Every cup ever manufactured associates an exhaustive list of environmental problems, which are only accentuated by their widespread usage among coffee drinkers. The entire process requires a substantial amount of water, energy… and a lot of trees.

Respect our beautiful resources and say no to disposable cups. #endthecupmadness

[1] The Environmental impact of paper, 2015.

<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_paper&gt;

Image source: <http://www.conbio.info/post/tag/forest-industry/&gt;