This year a lot of big companies have been attempting to make small changes that prove their ‘care for the environment’ and so that they are being ‘more green’ and the most popular one recently is companies either only giving out plastic straws is asked, charging for plastic straws or outright banning them. However, a lot of the companies who have banned plastic straws have had negative reactions due to the implications this poses for disabled customers. The prime story is how people reacted to Starbucks banning plastic straws in their drinks and replacing them with a new plastic lid. A lot of ‘reusable’ or ‘eco-friendly’ straws don’t work well for disabled people or could pose a safety risk, plus in my opinion and a lot of other people – surely replacing plastic straws with plastic lids creates just as much waste?
A better idea (if we keep our standards low) that Starbucks UK will be rolling out soon is the 5p paper cup charge. Starbucks paper/takeaway cups cause a waste of 4 billion cups every year because the company simply cannot or does not recycle them. The 5p charge works like this – Starbucks will charge 5p on top of your drink price for a disposable cup but if you have your hot drink to stay in (where it’ll be poured into a washable mug) you’ll have no extra charge (+0) BUT if you are having your drink to go and request it in your own reusable mug, they will give you a 25p discount. It’s a good incentive, right?
However, the criticisms here mainly is that Starbucks, as hard as they try, they have caused a big amount of waste and damage to the environment, much like Costa, McDonald’s and any other big corporation food/drink chain. The UK’s biggest coffee chains are Starbucks, Costa and Caffe Nero and they never recycle any of their disposable cups and the problem is people probably don’t realise this – which is clear especially on the amount of empty coffee chain cups people leave carelessly on pavements and in outdoor spaces (Manchester is guilty of this – people even hide them behind store displays out of pure laziness, it is honestly disgusting).
Other criticisms I’ve seen on this idea is that a lot of these coffee shops still create waste even when people bring their own mugs in – the barista will use a disposable cup to measure out the drink before transferring it which I’ve seen happen before and honestly, it is something people should call out Starbucks, Costa etc out on more.
And another criticism is that the 5p charge is too small to have any impact, however, is this not the same thing that people would say when 5p bag charges came out? It all depends on the person but it has been proven these environmental charges are creating a small difference. (England’s plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced)
Like I said it all depends on the person, but if you are reading this and care even a little bit about the planet that we live on, that the people we love live on and our future family will live on, then maybe you should think about investing in a reusable mug! Luckily I’ve put a quick little list of cute and great online places to get your new reusable mug and start reducing your disposable waste intake!
- Cute and inexpensive – Sass & Belle Travel Mug £8.50
If you want a cheap but cute mug – you can find a lot of cute travel mugs on ASOS or online! This one from Sass & Belle is compact with a switch on top to close the lid and prevent spillage! Perfect for taking your favourite tea on the go!
2. Fun and BPA Free – ecoffee cup’s 12oz Darwin Mug £10.95
Ecoffee cup is a brand dedicated to stopping the trend of single-use cups. All of their products are BPA and phthalate free and made with bamboo fibre! They make plenty of different cute patterns and drink sizes all at very reasonable prices!
3. A range of sizes and styles – KeepCup’s Sea Shepard Brew £14.00
KeepCup is another glorious brand dedicated to encouraging reusable products and claims their products are unbreakable and up to barista’s standards. The reason I share their Sea Shepard range is that if you purchase one of their reusable Sea Shepard mugs during July, 100% of the profits will go to Sea Shepards, a non-profit marine wildlife conservation organization. However, KeepCup has tons of different aesthetics, sizes and materials on their site if you wanted something else! There’s even adorable Star Wars KeepCups like this R2-D2 one!
4. Pricey but big in size – John Lewis Scion Hedgehog Travel Mug £15.00
This John Lewis travel mug may be on the pricier side but it makes up for it in the 480ml it can hold and it comes with a very cute design! However, this mug may not be completely leak proof or have a sealable lid so it’s best to keep it upright at all times! Great to take with you to work or college!
KeepCup and ecoffee cup are some of the great, eco-friendly brands that are popping up recently you can also look at Stojo cups for inspiration! But if those aren’t your choice, John Lewis, Debenhams and ASOS do other cute travel mugs and flasks!
Sorry if this blog post is a bit all over the place! But I hope it does inspire you to invest in a reusable cup and cut down on your disposable mug usage!
Thanks for reading,