Best Reusable Cup Sleeves: Supporting Eco-Friendly Small Businesses

We often overlook the little things when quantifying our carbon footprints. These are the small, everyday conveniences that can have a significant effect on the environment but are easy to forget about. One of these things is the disposable cup sleeve you get with your morning cup of coffee.

While these sleeves may seem insignificant, their impact on the environment quickly adds up. In the US alone, more than 50 billion coffee cups are thrown away annually; many of which are likely accompanied by a disposable sleeve. 

Most cup sleeves are made of non-recyclable materials, such as paper coated with plastic or foam, and they often end up in landfills where they can take hundreds of years to decompose. Additionally, the production and transportation of these sleeves require non-renewable energy and resources.

In this article, we’ll recommend 4 reusable cup sleeves perfect for your morning coffee and other hot or cold beverages. All of these recommendations are hand-made by small businesses, so you can support the planet while supporting the little guys!

Continue reading to learn how we chose our recommendations or skip straight to our top picks.

How We Chose the Best Reusable Cup Sleeves

We reviewed many different reusable cup sleeve brands to find the very best sleeves for your drinks. Here are the criteria we used to determine what makes a high-quality, sustainable cup sleeve:

Materials

The materials used in the cup sleeves we recommend are environmentally friendly and have a minimal negative impact on the planet. We searched for products that use materials that don’t contain toxic chemicals such as BPA, BPS, and phthalates. We also opted for products made from sustainable, natural materials that will hold up well with time and consistent use. 

Some of these materials include

  • Upcycled Cotton: Upcycled cotton is made from pre-consumer waste, such as textile scraps and old clothes. Upcycling cotton reduces the waste sent to landfills and conserves resources such as water and energy, which is required to make new cotton. 
  • Canvas: Canvas is a durable fabric made from natural fibers like cotton or hemp. It is designed to last and reusable many times, minimizing the need for frequent replacement and minimizing the demand for plastic materials.
  • Vegan Yarn: Vegan yarn is created from natural and renewable plant fibers such as cotton, linen, nettle, bamboo, and viscose. It is sustainable because it minimizes the need for animal-based materials, which can help to avoid negative repercussions on wildlife welfare and the environment.
  • Wool: Wool is a renewable and biodegradable natural fiber from animals such as sheep and alpaca. Wools can be grown and collected without pesticides and any harmful chemicals. However, it is crucial to emphasize that wool should only be manufactured in a sustainable and ethical manner to avoid negative impacts on animal welfare and the environment.

Quality and Durability

Reusable products must be able to actually be reused time and again. That’s why we researched our recommendations thoroughly to find the ones that are built to last. Some key aspects of a well-built reusable cup sleeve include quality stitching, heat resistance, and ease of cleaning. We’re confident all of the products we recommend can take a beating and stand the test of time without issues.

Sustainable and Ethical Practices

We searched for companies that promote ethical and sustainable business practices, with social and environmental responsibility being taken seriously throughout the supply chain. All of our recommendations are from small businesses with ethical labor practices, and we looked for brands that use eco-friendly packaging and are transparent about their production process. 

By selecting sustainable and ethical brands, we can support businesses that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility while enjoying our favorite beverages guilt-free.

The Best Reusable Cup Sleeves

Reusable Cup Sleeves

Top Picks

1. ButtonsandYarnOHMY – Monogrammed Reusable Knit Coffee Cup Sleeve

Buttons and Yarn - Reusable Cup Sleeve

Source: ButtonsandYarnOHMY on Etsy

  • Material: Vegan yarn
  • Fits: Up to 20oz 
  • Current price: $12.00
  • Get this product: Etsy

ButtonsandYarnOHMY is a sustainable and eco-friendly Etsy seller that prioritizes using natural, organic, and ethically-sourced materials in their products. The seller believes in reducing waste and minimizing their environmental impact by repurposing materials and using recycled packaging materials for shipping. “Finding yarn second hand and turning it into something that can be used every day is something I love,” says Michaela Fisk, the owner of the shop.

This reusable cup sleeve, along with everything else they offer, is handmade and ethically sourced. This seller uses recycled yarn for their products whenever possible and they use recycled soft acrylics in their blends. They also use recycled plastics from other Etsy shops for shipping but plan to move to even more sustainable resources for their packaging in the near future.

This sleeve keeps our hands protected from the heat or cold of our beverage. We noticed that it was very carefully crocheted and the stitch held up perfectly during our use. 

Pros: 

  • This sleeve is perfect for disposable coffee cups, travel mugs, and water bottles.
  • Eco-friendly, recycled materials sourced by a business that prioritizes sustainability.
  • Handmade in the USA by a small business, ensuring ethical labor and manufacturing.
  • This seller is accommodating of customizations – Just reach out and ask if they can do something special for you!

Cons:

  • Not machine washable – must be hand washed.

2. ShovelandSpade – 24 oz Wooly Jar Sleeve

Shovel and Spade - Reusable Cup Sleeve

Source: Etsy review by Nicole Blystone

  • Material: Wool felt
  • Fits: 24oz (they also offer sleeves for 16oz and 32oz)
  • Current price: $58.00
  • Get this product: ShovelandSpade.com

For all of the hip folks out there who love to enjoy their beverages from a mason jar, this one is for you. The material used for this sleeve is all-natural, cruelty-free wool that keeps your drink insulated and your hand cozy. 

We found that this sleeve is great at keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for as long as it takes to finish them. Wool fibers hold a lot of air, making them a perfect natural insulator. Furthermore, wool can retain up to 50% of its weight in moisture without feeling wet, making this sleeve perfect for drink containers that give off condensation.

It can be expensive for small businesses to commit to sustainable business practices, but ShovelandSpade is still committed to eco-friendliness by continuously decreasing their carbon footprint as they work towards their goal of being a zero-waste company. 

Pros: 

  • This sleeve is exceptionally well-made and is great for people that use canning jars for their beverages.
  • Wool works as a perfect natural insulator for both hot and cold drinks.
  • Wool is anti-microbial, ensuring that bacteria and odors won’t linger, allowing for minimal care requirements.
  • Materials are locally sourced and the product is ethically and sustainably made.

Cons:

  • This sleeve is significantly more expensive than any other recommendation in this article. However, we believe its durability makes it a worthy investment.

3. VISParadiseGoods – Boba Tea and Coffee Cup Sleeve

VIS Paradise Goods - Reusable Cup Sleeve

Source: Etsy review by Emily Gregory

  • Material: Canvas
  • Fits: 16oz and 22oz
  • Current price: $13.99
  • Get this product: Etsy

This cup sleeve by VISParadiseGoods is made of canvas, which has numerous environmental benefits over plastics and other synthetic materials. For one, canvas is very durable and can last for years with sustained use. 

Since it’s made from natural fibers like cotton or hemp, it’s also biodegradable, unlike other plastic-based materials, and will break down into natural materials relatively quickly at the end of its useful life. VISParadiseGoods also uses eco-friendly packaging made out of biodegradable materials.

One thing we love about this cup sleeve is the strap attached to it. We’ve all been in this situation: you’re walking up to a door with your hands full, with a coffee in one hand, and you need to put something down in order to get inside the building. The strap on this sleeve helps address that inconvenience. By looping the strap around your wrist, you can free up one of your hands to open the door or grab your keys.

Pros:

  • It’s made of durable canvas. 
  • There are numerous patterns available.
  • The ingenious strap frees up one of your hands.
  • The product is eco-friendly and the seller is committed to sustainability.

Cons:

  • Only the non-patterned sleeves are machine washable, while the others must be hand-washed.

4. MicheNiche – Reusable Coffee Cup Sleeve

MicheNiche - Reusable Cup Sleeve

Source: Etsy review by Arianna Rose Levesque

  • Material: Upcycled cotton
  • Fits: Tapered disposable cups up to 24oz
  • Current price: $6.00
  • Get this product: MicheNiche.com

MicheNiche’s reusable cup sleeve is made of upcycled cotton, meaning they use leftover fabrics from other products that they sell. The process of upcycling is great for the environment as it reduces waste and carbon emissions and promotes a circular economy. 

Upcycling also helps keep costs down. At just $6.00, this sleeve is the most affordable recommendation on this list and it works perfectly for both hot and cold beverages. However, we found that it doesn’t work well on non-tapered cups, so you should only get this product if you don’t plan on using it for cylindrical containers.

Pros:

  • Since it’s made from upcycled fabrics, it offers excellent sustainability.
  • This cup sleeve is extremely affordable.
  • Fits a range of tapered cup sizes.

Cons:

  • It only fits on tapered cups.

Top Picks

Here are our top picks broken down by a few categories:

Most Durable: ShovelandSpade Wooly Jar Sleeve

The Wooly Jar Sleeve is by far the most durable of the reusable cup sleeves we tested. Its water resistance, unbeatable insulation, and resilience make it our top pick for a long-lasting cup sleeve that can take a beating and be reused for years. However, you’ll have to pay a premium for that kind of build quality.

Most Sustainable: MicheNiche Reusable Cup Sleeve

Made from upcycled cotton, MicheNiche’s reusable cup sleeve is the closest product to zero-waste out of all the recommendations on our list.

Best Overall: VISParadiseGoods Reusable Cup Sleeve

The reusable cup sleeve by VISParadiseGoods strikes the perfect balance between sustainability, durability, and affordability. Made with biodegradable canvas, this sleeve is eco-friendly and will hold up well over time. On top of all of that, the strap offers a layer of versatility that no other product we reviewed has.

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