I love coffee, um, really LOVE it. My love of coffee has definitely contributed to a lot of landfills (insert monkey with hands over his face emoji ).
If you buy just one cup of coffee or tea in a disposable cup every day, you’ll end up creating about 23 lbs of waste in one year.
Just from your coffee!
I have continued switching out many things in my sustainable, healthy, ethical (S.H.E.) journey, but up until now, it hadn't included the habit of using a reusable cup or tumbler for my coffee when I ordered from a coffee shop.
It's weird actually because I easily made the switch to a reusable water bottle and ditched the plastic water bottles, but just didn't become consciously aware of my sporadic coffee contributions to landfills!
Participating in this year's Plastic Free July challenge pushed single use coffee cups up to the top of my list. I finally comprehended how many plastic cups I have contributed to landfills for the last 10 years with my unsweetened almond milk lattes - eeks! I'm so sorry, Planet Earth! Plus, I was still exposing myself to all the chemicals in the cup.
Double win for switching it out.
Take a look at the infographic below. The scary part, this isn't even from 2017! It's surely higher now. Skipping the reusable cup matters!
The number barrier to going plastic-free and no longer using single use plastic cups is to find a reusable cup that is:
- truly plastic free
- actually functional and doesn't leak
- does not distort the taste of your coffee
- looks cute!
THE CUTEST REUSABLE CUPS A GIRL SHOULD USE
My aim in picking a resuable cup was something 100% plastic free, but that turned out to be challenging. Here's the combination I came up with to make it work!
- Glass, stainless steel or paper straws
- Silicone jar jackets
- Silicone lids inserts or covers
Note: I only use paper straws when I don't think I'm going to be interrupted. Anyone else have soggy paper straw issues on busy days? Just sayin' ; )
100% PLASTIC FREE
MASON JAR ACCESSORIES
In the summer, so I'm all about iced coffee options. After a lot of research I turned my mason jars into better reusable coffee tumblers with a few plastic-free accessories. It's cheaper than getting a new reusable tumbler as well. Plus, I love mason jars!
Simply Straws is a great place to start for a lot of plastic-free straw options. [Sidebar: not only is this company family-owned, but it is a B-Corp and uses eco-energy for its web hosting and printing! That's the sort list of reasons I love them. Read more here.] . You can also get brush cleaners, lids, carriers, and more from them!
I put the straws I owned right into a sip lid from Afresh Jar (shown in the jar photo above). You get 6 in a pack from them, so there's plenty to share!
Another option is silicone covers (below) that fit on top of mason jars and also supposedly will fit over your HydroFlask or other reusable tumblers to replace their plastic lids. (I haven't tried it so I can't vouch for this.)
I love the colors of this cup! It's dishwasher and microwave safe and doesn't have any harmful chemical nasties including BPA, lead and cadmium because the sleeve and lid are made from silicone, which is plastic free. I'm such a fan AND it is available on Amazon. It does seem to have mixed reviews which is why I am starting with mason jar accessories first.
Totally plastic-free is the way to go, BUT if you're not going to use a reusable cup because you're stuck on the functionality of a plastic lid, please use just get one with a plastic lid and stop using the single use plastic! I'll take a reusable cup with a plastic lid being used over plastic cup after plastic cup getting tossed in the landfill any day. Be honest about what is going to be a barrier for you. I know first hand that if it doesn't truly work for you it will sit in the cupboard and not get used!
I almost got a Life Factory tumbler (and still might) because their lids are BPA/BPS-free and phthalate-free and made from polypropylene (PP#5) and have the pop-up lid that's easy to use in the car. Generally PP#5 is more toxic during production (not good for planet Earth) but less likely to leak than other plastics. So it's not the worst option if you still want the more functional pop-up lid. I'll let you know if I do get one. There's a plastic-free war going on inside of me now!
A BPA free, double walled glass & bamboo, vacuum sealed flask. I've always has a soft spot for Fressko because it is beautiful!
This straw set from Klean Kanteen is made from a stainless steel straw with a silicone (which isn't plastic) top. I use glass straws when I make drinks at home, but take a stainless steel straw when I go out and about. You can slide these straws into most mason jar accessories with the hole for the straw.
The Klean Kanteen Tumbler is HIGHLY function. If you want to sacrifice some plastic for a trusty commute-worthy option, this is it. It is made from food grade stainless steel (if you don't see this listed on a stainless steel reusable tumbler or water bottle it is probably NOT healthy for you!).
These brands aren't available in the United States YET (a girl can hope!), but for all of our international followers, check them out!
This brand's message to #carrywithconscience is fabulous and the cup is cute! However, it is a screw on lid, so if that annoys you, this isn't the I-really-will-use-it brand for you.
If you live in Australia, Sol Cups are a great option. I might have to hop on a plane and come get one! This company is all about ending waste and embracing taste. Hand blown glass cups use materials that keep the heat in and the nasties out - and don't mess with the taste of your coffee!
There are a lot of cute and accessible reusable cups out there. I hope you found this list helpful and inspiring to make a change that is not only good for your own health, but the health of the planet. What is your favorite usable cup? Any tips or tricks?