Every year, we throw away over 50 billion single-use coffee cups in the United States alone, most of which are coated in plastic. While single-use coffee cups are convenient, when we’re done with them, many of them go directly to landfills and the ocean, contributing to environmental degradation, contamination, and the spreading of disease.
One of the most effective ways to reduce this type of waste is to use reusable coffee cups. In fact, you can begin making a positive environmental difference after using a reusable cup as few as 7 times!
This article will help you choose the best sustainable reusable coffee cup to meet your needs. Keep reading to learn how we made our picks, or jump straight to our product recommendations.
Background Information: Cups: Single Use (Disposable) vs. Reusable – An Honest Comparison
How We Picked the Most Sustainable Reusable Coffee Cups
Using any reusable cup is more eco-friendly than throwing out a coffee cup every day. But not all reusable coffee cups are made equal, as some are more eco-friendly than others. Here are the other factors we considered in our research to make sure we picked the very best sustainable reusable coffee cups.
Health & Safety
Some reusable coffee cups on the market, particularly those made of plastic, contain toxic chemicals that can leach into your drink, with the potential to cause health problems. All of the products we chose are free of toxic chemicals that may be present in some conventional reusable cups, including:
We chose products made from lower-impact sustainable materials, including:
- Plant-based materials, like rice husks
- Recycled or upcycled materials
- Biodegradable materials
- Stainless steel
All of these reusable coffee cup materials have a lower environmental impact than disposable plastic.
We’ve searched for cups that are durable and well-made. For example, we made sure that these cups are built to last and that none of them burn your hands, or it can keep your coffee warm for a period of time, or it is featured with a spill-free lid so you’d be able to bring your coffee on your next camping or hiking adventure.
Compatibility With Your Favorite Barista
We’ve also checked for cups that have size and quality that are accepted by most major coffee shops, including Starbucks.
Manufacturer’s Ethical & Sustainable Practices
Finally, we’ve reviewed each manufacturer’s adherence to other sustainable and ethical standards. For example, we reviewed whether the manufacturer ensures fair wages and safe working conditions, and if they engage in other sustainable practices such as relying on renewable energy or using sustainable packaging.
Sustainable Reusable Coffee Cups
Around the world, the majority of single-use coffee cups are not recycled. While some coffee shops are investing in cups designed to be recycled or composted, the most eco-friendly option is to simply use a reusable coffee cup for your daily morning – or afternoon – coffee. Here are our picks for the best sustainable reusable coffee cups.
Best Glass Reusable Coffee Cup
1. KeepCup Brew Cork
KeepCup glass reusable coffee cups are made of ultra-durable tempered glass, and feature a cork band for a secure grip, making them one of the best plastic coffee cup alternatives. Glass is an extremely sustainable material, as it can be sourced naturally from sand, lime stones, and soda ash, or be recycled from pre-used glass pieces. Glass is fully recyclable.
The cork band around the middle of this glass reusable coffee cup is built perfectly to help you keep a strong grip on the cup while also protecting your hand from getting burnt by hot coffee. This cup also fits nicely in car cup holders, so you won’t have to worry about spills while using this cup on the go.
KeepCup is a B Corp-certified company, which means they are dedicated to improving their company’s social and environmental performance. In addition, the corporation has vowed to donate 1% of its earnings to programs that help the environment. KeepCup packaging is made entirely of recycled cardboard.
To learn more about your coffee habit’s environmental footprint, you can use KeepCup’s Impact Calculator. The Impact Calculator helps you calculate the specific environmental benefits of using a reusable cup.
KeepCups are BPA-free, BPS-free, and phthalates-free.
Downsides: Cleaning the exterior of the cup might be a little tricky. The cork band is fragile when removed from the cup, especially when soaked with water, so it can crack if you’re not careful. To avoid this, hand-wash the cup carefully without taking the cork band off.
Best Fiber-Based Reusable Coffee Cups
2. Ecoffee Bamboo Cups
Ecoffee reusable bamboo coffee cups are made of natural bamboo fiber, corn starch, and plant-based resin, with a food-grade silicone lid and sleeves. Bamboo is very sustainable because it grows quickly with less water usage and doesn’t need to be uprooted when harvested, allowing it to keep storing carbon even as it’s used.
This cup’s silicone lid is tight and secure, preventing spillage. Reviews also note that the silicone band is excellent for maintaining your grip and protecting your hands from the heat of the coffee. The Ecoffee cup comes in 100 different trendy styles, providing a variety of design options depending on your style, from Van Gogh inspired patterns to solid colors.
Since its launch in 2014, Ecoffee Cup and its customers have prevented 10 million single-use coffee cups from entering landfills and the ocean.
Ecoffee Bamboo cups are BPA-free, BPS-free, and phthalate-free. Although the majority of the components are natural, the cup does include a small amount of melamine as a glue, which is perfectly safe as long as you avoid microwaving the cup.
Downsides: Since the cup is made mostly of natural materials like bamboo fiber, it doesn’t handle rapid temperature changes well, and may break if you pour boiling water into the cup after storing it into a cold environment. To avoid breakage, check out the proper care instructions on the Ecoffee Cup website. We also noticed that the Ecoffee Cup only keeps your coffee warm for about 40 minutes, which isn’t quite as long as an insulated thermos cup.
You can also find this cup on the Ecofee Cup website.
3. Huskup Eco-Friendly Coffee Cups
Huskup eco-friendly coffee cups are made from non-GMO rice husks (and reusable silicone for the lid and sleeves). Using rice husks as an alternative to plastic not only reduces plastic waste, but also diverts agricultural waste like rice husks from entering landfills and being burned. This helps to reduce carbon emissions and avoids the need for producing new raw materials.
Since the Huskup cups are made from rice husks, they don’t have a plastic or metal taste or odor like some conventional reusable cups. The Huskup cups are also totally microwave safe and biodegradable; in fact, the Huskup cups have been certified to European Composability Standards (EN13432) on the following criteria:
- Biodegradation – Products will biodegrade completely 6 months after disposal.
- Disintegration – 90% of the cup will disintegrate after just 12 weeks of disposal.
- Eco-toxicity – The cup does not cause any environmental harm once disposed of.
- Heavy metal contents – The cup doesn’t contain dangerous amounts of heavy metals.
Huskup has collaborated with several independent artists to make incredibly fun designs. These coffee cups are available in beautiful patterns like waves and sunflowers, themes like Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, and solid colors.
Huskup also has several initiatives that directly help the environment. For example, The Huskup Forest initiative aims to plant 10,000 trees, one for every two cups purchased. Huskup’s Common Seas initiative supports the island of Paros in Greece in becoming the first island in the Mediterranean to stop using single-use plastic.
Huskups are BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.
Downside: Since the cup does not have thermal insulation, it can only maintain warm temperatures for around an hour.
4. BioGo Cups
BioGo cups are made entirely from rice husk fiber. They are quite durable, and also quite lightweight, making them perfect for travel and outdoor activities. Their lid seals tightly, preventing spillage on your adventures. Another thing we love about BioGo cups is that they are anti-scald, so you don’t have to worry about getting your hands too hot even without a cup sleeve.
BioGo has incorporated other environmental practices into their company culture and values. For example, the company has vowed to plant a tree for every cup sold. This not only saves 4,000 single-use cups for every BioGo cup produced, but it also directly contributes to reforestation efforts.
BioGo cups are BPA-free and toxin-free. These cups also come in different colors, such as mint, green, pink, gray, yellow, orange, and black.
Downside: We noticed that over time, the cup starts leaking more, especially when the cup is handled roughly.
You can also find this cup on the BioGo website.
Best Paper-Based Reusable Coffee Cup:
5. Circular & Co. Reusable Coffee Cups
Circular & Co. sustainable reusable coffee cups are made of 100% recycled single-use paper cups, perfect for eco-conscious coffee lovers. While recycled paper cups don’t sound like the most durable material, Circular & Co. says that these cups actually last for 10 years! The company has partnered with several recycling businesses and global retail brands to source their paper cups, making these reusable cups a “circular” product that helps give new life to otherwise useless materials.
The cup’s interior is insulated and can keep your coffee or other hot beverage warm for 60 to 90 minutes. We also love that the lid is push-to-open/close and offers a 360-degree drinking angle. It’s also tight and secure, making it 100% leak proof.
Circular & Co. has a “Takeback Scheme” (only available in the UK), where the company provides a 30% discount to anyone who returns their Circular & Co. product for recycling. The discount can be redeemed on your next purchase.
Circular & Co. reusable coffee cups are BPA-free, melamine-free, and dishwasher-safe. These cups also come in different color combinations, such as Black & Giggle Pink, Black & Faraway Blue, Cream & honest Green, Black & Electric Mustard, and more.
Downside: Since the cup does not have thermal insulation, it doesn’t keep your coffee warm for more than 90 minutes.
You can also find this cup on the Circular&Co. website.
Best Insulated Reusable Coffee Cups:
6. Yeti Rambler
The Yeti Rambler is built of 100% stainless steel, an extremely sustainable material that’s 100% recyclable. The Yeti cup also has a no-sweat design technology to keep your hands from getting wet from condensation, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking and camping. Unlike some of the other sustainable reusable coffee cups listed above, the Rambler has double-wall insulation that keeps the beverage’s temperature hot or cold for an extended amount of time, making it great for traveling.
Yeti has implemented a number of other sustainability practices. For example, in order to make it easier to use reusable cups on the move, Yeti installed hydration stations around the US and other countries. This helps reduce the need to buy plastic water bottles and other single use cups. Additionally, Yeti’s sustainable packaging initiatives also contribute to eliminating 146 tons of plastic and 206 tons of paper materials.
Yeti Ramblers are BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. These cups also come in different colors, such as charcoal, black, navy, seafoam, white, nordic blue, nordic purple, alpine yellow, highlands olive, and stainless.
Downside: This cup is not leak proof, so putting it inside your purse or backpack may not be a great idea.
You can also find this cup on Yeti website.
7. Klean Kanteen Insulated TK Wide
Klean Kanteen insulated mugs are made of 90% recycled stainless steel, lowering carbon emissions from steel production by up to 50%. This reusable mug is constructed with double wall vacuum insulation, which can keep beverages hot for up to 17 hours and cold for up to 63 hours, making it ideal for long travels, hiking, or camping. Additionally, the lid secures tightly, allowing you to put it in your bag without fear of leaks.
Klean Kanteen ensures that its commitment to sustainability extends beyond its reusable mugs. First, the company is B Corp certified, which helps them measure and review their social and environmental impacts. Klean Kanteen is also 100% carbon neutral, from manufacturing to delivery services. They have pledged to give 1% of their earnings to global sustainability projects, to which they have already donated $3.6 million USD.
Klean Kanteens are BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. These cups also come in different colors, such as real teal, marigold, tofu, and black.
Downside: We’ve noticed that over time with rough handling, the tumbler’s paint may chip off, which can be bothersome to clean and can ruin the cup’s design.
You can also find this cup on Klean Kanteen website.