Reusable cups are everywhere! We love to see people and brands make sustainable choices and the popularity of reusable cups is a exciting example of that!
Reusable cups are a more sustainable alternative to disposable cups as they drastically reduce our waste production. We often mistake paper coffee cups for being recyclable, however they are lined with plastic polyethylene means that they actually cannot be recycled. In the UK alone, we throw away 2.5 billion coffee cups per year and Ecoffee Cup estimate it is 100 billion worldwide, so making a dent in that number is definitely on our agenda. You can see why we love reusable coffee cups!
But, does the sustainability end there? Should we be asking where are these coffee cups made, and who is making them? At Know The Origin we want to hold sustainable brands to account just as much as non-ethical brands; in every stage of the supply chain. Do our sustainable lifestyle products get a free pass when it comes to production sustainability standards?
Whilst we can re-use our cups to prevent the mass disposal of non-recyclable cups, our reusable cups may still be unsustainable in the practices used to produce them.
How is the production of silicone cups, which are made using hydrocarbons from fossil fuels such as petroleum, sustainable? Where is the metal for reusable bottles sourced? and is it Fairtrade? These are the questions we need to be asking even to our “sustainable” brands.
The materials they are made from, the wages and the working conditions of the workers who make them are amongst the many areas we should be looking at. Using reusable cups to save the environment does not eliminate the harm done in creating the cup. In other words, the good does not cover up the bad.
Transparency is a big part of Know the Origin, and we would love to see the future of reusable cups be aimed at making the whole process more transparent. Showing every aspect of how reusable cups are made, means that we can confidently live our sustainable lifestyle, knowing that it is not harming our environment or the people involved. Therefore, in order to live a sustainable lifestyle confidently and proudly we should be questioning every aspect of sustainability.
Do your research before purchasing a reusable cup, look behind the surface of a zero-waste solution, and question if it is sustainably made! Here are a couple coffee cup brands that are going beyond re-usability:
For Kahla’s Cupit range, both the porcelain and the BPA-free lids are made in Germany! We love this range not only because environmental organisation Deutshe Umwelthilfe recommend porcelain as a reusable alternative to disposable wear, but because every Friday there are guided tours of the Kahla factory in Germany to help people reconnect to porcelain production in Germany! Yes transparency!
Ecoffee is well and truly uncompromising in their environmental sustainability. The bamboo fibre is considered the world’s most sustainable crop and it is fully biodegradable as well!
Ecoffee source their bamboo from waste material from chopstick manufacturing and from government certified, sustainably-managed native plantations in central China. Once you no longer need your Ecoffee Cup just crush it up, soak it in boiling water and throw it on your compost heap!
You can even recycle the silicone lid and sleeve and soon Ecoffee will introduce their Closed Loop Recycling system in UK, Germany, Netherlands and Australia, which will encourage customers to send back the lid and sleeve to be professionally recycled into other silicone products! They have definitely set the bar high on environmental sustainability!