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Are Travel Mugs Good for the Environment?

With the UK government imposing an additional tax for disposable cups, it only makes financial and environmental sense to use travel mugs.

travel mugs

Some coffee shops even began offering discounts if you use your portable cup when ordering your drinks. This discount may be a small amount but they accumulate very fast if you are an avid coffee drinker which could result in huge savings over time.

Environmental problems caused by disposables

While disposable cups are technically recyclable, their plastic lining called polyethylene which makes them waterproof is also the reason why they are difficult to recycle. A special process is needed in order to recycle them but unfortunately there are only 3 recycling centers in the UK that are able to recycle them. This means that most of the disposable cups end up incinerated, piling up in landfills and littering bodies of water.

Yes, disposable cups would break down eventually but the process takes hundreds, if not thousands of years. Even if they do break down, they turn into microplastics which could be ingested by animals and have already caused deaths among the marine life population.

Disposable cups are also made primarily from paper and have a different set of environmental implications. Trees which have been around for years are being cut down in order to make a product that only lasts as long as its contents. Not to mention that illegal logging in impoverished countries with relaxed environmental laws are becoming a huge problem due to demand for paper materials. And when there are no trees to hold on to the soil during rainy season, soil erosion and devastating floods could happen.

Enough about disposable and letís talk about how reusable coffee cups and travel mugs impact our environment, in a good way.


First off, reusable cups are made from what many people consider as environment-friendly materials like stainless steel, which is the most popular, glass, silicone, rice husk and bamboo. Each of these materials are considered good for the environment because they are either recyclable or sustainable. Bamboo cups are the most sustainable while stainless steel and glass cups are the most recyclable.

Additionally, these materials are 100% BPA-free which means no nasty chemicals could leach into your drinks. BPA or bisphenol a is one such chemical which is known as a hormone disruptor and could cause some serious health issues like hypertension and heart diseases. This toxic chemical is also widely considered by experts as carcinogenic.

Generally, travel mugs can keep your drink safe and even make it taste better. Stainless steel cups have proven to never impart flavor nor alter the taste. They even have protection against corrosion, rush and accidental bumps.

The same type of reusable coffee container lets you enjoy warm or cold coffee for longer hours because of their innovative feature - double wall insulation. They are convenient to use as well because most of these cups fit in your carís cup holders.

Definitely, travel mugs are good for the environment. They even look after your health and welfare. Although some experts suggest that it would take about 20 to 100 uses before it can surpass a single disposable coffee cupís greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, travel mugs are very good for the planet.

At the end of their life, how you dispose of reusable cups depends on their materials. For instance, you could toss your retired bamboo cup into your compost pit because bamboo is biodegradable. Stainless steel cups and glass cups are recyclable so you can throw them into your recycle bin instead.

So by switching to reusable travel mugs can help save the environment from pollution, chemicals and other negative impacts.

RELATED: What Are the Different Types of Travel Mugs?