Last week I was doing my usual Instagram business (cough cough bs) and uploaded a couple of pictures, of my usual order to my story: A plain vanilla soya iced latte. Nothing unusual about it. It came within 5 minutes of me ordering and in the same cup as it always does: a plastic one.
Within a few minutes of me posting this picture, there was a new message in my inbox. One of you guys had reached out to me about the environmental effects, of the cup I was using. I honestly hadn’t even given it a thought, until one of you guys pointed it out to me! (Thanks for that!)
Now, I checked, and the cup WAS going to be recycled after I was done with it, but most coffee places don’t offer such services and that got me thinking: What are the consequences to using these disposable cups? How does this actually effect the environment? And why am I not using a re-usable cup, considering I’m here, getting the same drink, in the same packaging, so bloody often?
To answer these questions, I did a little digging. It turns out that:
- 16 billion disposable coffee cups are used each year.
- These cups contain 5% polyurethane plastic, which is used to make the cups waterproof.
- Due to their plastic content, over 99% of these cups are never recycled.
- It takes up to 30 years for these cups to decompose in nature.
Now, it’s the plastic in these cups that makes them difficult to recycle and it definitely sounds bad, but it is my understanding that it isn’t the plastic in itself, that’s the big problem here. It’s certainly part of the problem but mostly it’s about how we use this plastic and how much of it we use.
Though we will need all the big ass corporations, to get on board to expect any sort of significant long-lasting change, we ourselves, can still make a difference.
For example, like it was so kindly pointed out to me, by purchasing a reusable coffee cup, to reduce the waste of paper cups! So, if you too are looking to help out, just like I am, and invest in a high quality re-usable cup, here are my top three suggestions for you:
This first cup is made with Latex-free silicone, natural fibre, corn starch and resin. Ecoffee, like the other brands presented here, promotes re-use and has made a durable, stylish product to help in the fight, against single-use cups. Their cups come in a variety of different colours and patterns and are, as an added bonus, completely dish-washable and therefore easy to maintain. They also come in different sizes, that are easy to take with you, when you’re on the go!
This cup is made from recycled paper cups and also 100% recyclable itself. Though not very customizable, it IS, like the Ecoffee cups, one of the more affordable options.
rCUP focuses on a circular economy of recycling, reusing and reducing waste, with their cups. By making their cups out of waste and at the same time ALSO making said cups recyclable, they are essentially creating a full circle of recycling! Very clever, I think!
This brand was by far the most recommended and I can absolutely see why.
This eco-friendly cup brand promotes reusing plastic by making a cup that is both high-quality and stylish.
It’s also incredibly customizable! With lots of different sizes, materials and colours to choose from. KeepCup even gives you the opportunity to design your own cup, so you don’t have to go with any of the base designs if you don’t want to. Which Is something that I personally think, is really really cool! I especially like the glass/cork designs and am definitely purchasing one for myself!
Now, of course this is just ONE of the many ways we can help protect the environment and even if this doesn’t especially appeal to you personally, I still want to urge you to think about what the effects of your day to day habits, have on the environment. Afterall, every little bit helps. So, if we all stand together to make small changes like these, we will start to see progress towards a more sustainable future.
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