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Coffee cups

Sustainable swaps for single-use, disposable coffee cups are better for our health and the environment.

What you can do

Making better, healthier cup choices helps reduce the billions of disposable coffee cups that end up as landfill and litter.

How can you do it

Many people find being prepared is the key to making better cup choices. Keeping a reusable cup in your reusable kit, car, bag, or at your desk means it will always be within arms-reach if the coffee urge strikes. 

The best reusable cup is the one you already have. Grabbing a cup from home is a simple solution to disposable coffee cups. Popular choices include travel cups made of glass, ceramic and insulated stainless steel with sealable lids.

Cafés are choosing better cups as well. Many cafés are embracing cup exchange schemes or setting up informal ‘mug libraries’ where coffee lovers can borrow or swap a cup. 

People tell us that instead of having a coffee while on the run, they are sitting down at a café to enjoy their hot beverage from a ceramic cup or standing up, Italian-style, for their morning espresso. 

Taking the next steps

Consider encouraging family and friends by gifting a reusable cup that suits their lifestyle and personality. 

You may inspire community groups or workplaces by helping to create a mug library or researching nearby cafés that operate cup swap schemes.

Our Choose to Up Cup Resources Library provides free, editable posters and social media tiles for you to customise the Bring, Borrow, Stay message in your workplace or community organisation.

You may also like to encourage and support cafes to become part of the Responsible Cafes network.

The impact

  • Many people find when they bring their own cup, it inspires family, friends and colleagues to bring their own cup too. 
  • People tell us how much they appreciate the choice of either bringing their own cup, accessing a mug from a mug library or taking part in a swap scheme at their local cafe, enjoying greater well-being as a result. 
  • Disposable coffee cups are not recyclable in most locations. Even well-intentioned ‘compostable’ coffee cups require very specific facilities and conditions and often end up in landfill.

More ideas

What others do

Glass of lemonade, bunch of straws and a plastic juice bottle

To find plastic free ideas, take the Plastic Free July challenge

Reusable carry bag, keep cups and bamboo cutlery
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