How Bamboo Coffee Mugs Can Help End the UK's Throwaway Culture

Reusable bamboo travel mugs are a viable alternative to single-use plastics.

In this current day and age, we are now beginning to understand the fundamental damage single-use plastics can and are doing to our planet. Big corporations such as McDonald's and Starbucks are starting to set sustainability goals and are slowly beginning to initiate schemes in their establishments so that customers are encouraged to recycle and reduce their use of single-use plastics.

woman holding disposable cup

Along with single-use activist Hugh Fearnley who initially prompted the question on the end destination of the billions of single-use coffee cups we as a nation use and then disposing of in his ‘War on Waste” series, planet pioneer and environmentalist David Attenborough launched a significant Plastic Watch initiative on the BBC calling on them to reduce their plastic waste. There is change happening but with the climate emergency only becoming an ever-present topic, the change needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Bamboo Coffee Mugs and the Issue With the UK’s Throwaway Culture

One of the main routes to caveat the damage is through direct consumer-change, by choosing to use less single-use options and focusing on re-useable options instead. Our bamboo travel mug (450ml and equivalent to a large in cafes) is ideal for transporting your morning coffee during your commute to work or storing in the car, whilst also keeping it insulated with a tight suction lid preventing any accidental spillage when moving.

The government reported in an audit in 2018 that a staggering 2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away every year in the UK, a statistic that undoubtedly in our current climate will have increased by now. To put into context – that is enough single-use coffee cups to go around the world five and a half times. In terms of their total energy output, the Guardian recently reported that your average takeaway cup requires 0.58 litres of water to produce and subsequently has a carbon footprint equal to up to 60.9 grammes of carbon dioxide.

This translates into less than 1 in 400 that are recycled, with the government also estimating that approximately 500,000 cups are littered every day encouraging a dangerous cycle of littering on our environment. Research from a 2017 House of Common’s Audit also emphasised that the coffee cups that end up in UK landfill sites will collectively produce 152,000 tones of carbon dioxide. This is similar to what 33,000 cars produce in one year. All for your morning coffees.

What’s the Alternative To Single-Use Coffee Mugs?

However, a simple alternative is choosing to buy and use a re-useable cup. When 80% of people visit a coffee shop once a week and approximately 16% of us visit daily that equates to potentially a large amount of single-use plastic being used. According to statistics published last year, approximately 10,830 people chose to have a take-away drink at a coffee shop. Excluding the data of those that brought their own, that could equate to approximately 10,000 single-use coffee cups going to landfill or littering our towns and countryside.

man holding plastic cup

Furthermore, it has also been calculated that as little as around 1% of people choose not to harness the subsequent discount that can come from bringing your own mug. According to Which, the current discounts on offer range from 25p to 50p but offer subsequent totals ranging from £65 to £130 per year. This highlights not only the environmental benefits a re-useable mug brings but a financial one too. So why is this something people are not harnessing?

What Materials Make Up Our Bamboo Travel Mug?

Often when purchasing a re-useable mug, one would not question the multiple layers of materials that have gone into making it. However, this is something we deeply care about. Our travel mug is made from premium Bamboo and Stainless Steel. The bamboo used is 100% organic, thus ensuring a comfortable and smooth grip when transporting your morning coffee between your different errands of the day. Even on the days when your coffee is just that bit too hot, our mug is fully insulated resulting in no need for any silicone or cardboard sleeve to protect your hands from the heat.

Upon creating our re-useable mug, we knew bamboo was the best choice for the base material not just for our product but the subsequent effects that creating our product would have on the environment it leaves behind. The process of growing and collecting bamboo doesn’t erode the soil and grows quickly once planted. It regenerates quickly and independently, with a pole of bamboo only taking six months to grow into its full mass. The inner layer of our mug is grade 304 stainless steel. Aside from being 100% recyclable, 60-70% of the material is already made from recycled material. As a product, it does not cause any secondary pollution to water and is corrosion resistant. Overall, you can trust that each layer of our bamboo mug serves its purpose both to you and the environment.


In conclusion, to help and ultimately save the environment, we need to take the steps even if only in small increments to change some of our age-old habitual ways. If we all take these small steps, it will eventually equate to a change. As we have discussed, one of the best ways to start is to get rid of single-use plastic. Not only at establishments will it help the environment but it would financially help your pocket too (as mentioned, most cafes offer discounts when you bring your own mug).

By reducing the need for single-use plastic coffee mugs, it would reduce the demand and thus reduce the need for the large numbers that are currently being mass-produced. Our bamboo mug could be the first step into making the change which will last you for many years into the future but also doing our part in reducing the estimated 2.5 billion coffee cups that are currently thrown away. Even though this is something we are only waking up to and the damage it imposes to people and wildlife, it can be changed. But only if we change our approach to single-use plastics. Through switching to re-useable options such as our re-useable bamboo and Stainless-steel coffee mug, it is a step towards a plastic-free future. 

Author: Imogen Green


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