We’re so happy you’ve decided to ditch single-use drinks cups and start a brand new, eco-friendly habit.
This page will help you get off to the best start by giving you some extra information and tips to help your new habit stick, permanently!
So whether you’re a coffee lover, a tea fanatic or more of a hot chocolate person, we’re all in this together. Let’s get sipping!
Why are reusable cups better for the environment?
Before we start, we want to share a few facts to show you just how much of a difference you are making by switching to a reusable cup:
- They create less waste. Buying one disposable cup every day creates around 10 kg of waste per year. That’s about the same weight as a fully-grown sausage dog, an average 1-year-old child or a 10 litre bucket of water. That’s a lot of cups! A quality reusable cup should last well over a year of everyday use, if not much longer.
- They don’t cause such a headache for recycling plants. Disposable cups are really difficult to recycle because they contain a mixture of paper and plastic. This means that very few recycling facilities can actually process them. So over 99% of cups don’t get recycled, even if you put them in the recycling bin.
- We all know that plastic is seen as the “enemy” at the moment. But even a plastic reusable cup is better than buying disposable cups every day, once you’ve used it 16 times.
Getting started – choosing the right cup for you
There are so many reusable cups on the market these days – the industry is booming. So to make it easier to choose, we’ve put together a list of the types of cup you might consider. So you at least know where to start!
Choosing a material
Reusable cups come in a huge range of materials, and which one works for you depends on a few things. If you want a lightweight cup, choosing plastic, bamboo or even recycled disposable cups!
Reusable cups made from glass or ceramic are often beautifully designed. These are great if your cup isn’t travelling too much and you’re feeling extra careful.
If you’re looking for something durable, that will stand up to the times you accidentally drop it, choosing a cup made from stainless steel or impact-resistant plastic.
The eco-friendly credentials of each material might also be something to consider. So if you want to go super-green with your cup, try finding one that’s made from recycled materials, waste food products or sustainably-sourced bamboo. A lot of companies will also take back your cup at the end of its life. This means it can be recycled into a brand new cup. Other companies allow you to buy replacement parts for a cup that is otherwise functional. This saves having to buy a whole new cup.
Do you carry your cup on your morning commute, balance it in the cup holder in your car or want to put your drink in your bag to enjoy elsewhere? If so, choosing a leakproof cup is a very good idea to avoid any mess and spills.
If you want to make sure your cup is totally leakproof, we’d recommend getting a proper travel mug or even a flask. Some “leakproof” cups can still leak so reading reviews from other users (or asking the Ailuna community) is a great idea.
Do you prefer the feel and look of a more open cup and you don’t need it to stand up to too much jiggling around? If this is you, a non-leakproof cup could be just your thing.
Insulated cups are great if you’re more of a slow sipper than a down-in-one type. Or, if you forget to take your drink into your morning meeting (which will then probably overrun), it’s a great feeling to know that it’ll still be sitting, nice and hot in your insulated cup when you get back to your desk.
Beware though, if you’re a fast drinker of hot drinks. Some insulated cups can keep your drink too hot to drink, sometimes for hours!
A lot of people find collapsible cups convenient because they can be crushed down to a small cylinder, so they’re not taking up a lot of room in your bag.
They do take a little more effort to care for than some others, but don’t worry. We have some cleaning tips below that should help you care for your cup, whichever one you end up choosing.
Be careful when you’re finished with your collapsible cup not to just fold it down straight away! Some cups have been known to spray their users with leftover coffee when collapsed down. To avoid this, make sure you totally empty your cup. Then collapse it over a sink or at least away from your clothes! Also, try to rinse the cup first to avoid a sticky mess in your bag.
Make your own!
This is definitely in the “advanced” category but this guide on how to make your own reusable cup could be a great project for anyone who wants to make use of items they already have around the house or can get for free from friends or family. So don’t worry if you can’t or don’t want to spend money on buying a cup – you can still join this action!
Don’t forget to pick the right size
It’s worth thinking in advance about the size of cup you will need, based on how you use it.
One of the most important things to consider is if you need your cup to be “barista size”. This means that it will fit under the machine in a coffee shop. If your cup is too big for the machine, the barista might have to use a disposable cup to make your drink – which defeats the purpose of your reusable cup!
Another important factor is that it will fit your “usual” drink. So if you’re an extra large cup of tea kind of person, a small cup probably won’t work for you. But if you’re an espresso drinker, small might do the job just fine.
When browsing online, most cups will have their capacity listed, so double-check what volume your usual drink is and choose your cup accordingly.
Another thing to consider when picking your cup is how you carry it around. Smaller cups (or collapsible) are better if you need to store your cup away in your bag when you’ve finished with it. Also, if you’re a driver, make sure the base of your cup will fit into your car’s cup holders, for safe storage whilst driving.
Lastly, think about how you like your cup to feel in your hand. If you like something you can get both hands around to warm them on a frosty morning, pick a larger cup. If you prefer being able to hold your cup in one hand comfortably, a narrower cup is probably more your thing.
If you feel ready to buy a cup now, have a look at the selection of cups the Ailuna team has handpicked as our favourites in our shop.
Tips & Tricks
Follow these tips and hacks to help with some of the most common obstacles people come across when they first start using a reusable cup.
It’s really important to make sure you thoroughly clean your cup after each use. A lot of cups with lids have different parts, and it’s easy for bacteria to grow if they’re not cleaned properly. This is especially true if you enjoy your drink with milk or sugar, as they both increase the risk of bacteria forming.
Check with your cup’s manufacturer as they will usually provide a detailed cleaning guide. This should include how to take apart and put back together your cup, as well as any special cleaning methods for your particular cup.
If you’ve got a dishwasher safe cup, the easiest way to clean it is to put it in the dishwasher every day. If you don’t have a dishwasher, using hot, soapy water and investing in a set of different-sized bottle brushes can help make sure your cup says bacteria and smell-free. Rinsing your cup immediately after each use, if you can, is a good way to keep it clean before you get home.
Some cups are easier to clean than others and this is probably another thing to consider when choosing your cup.
Cleaning tips for smelly cups
If you notice your cup is starting to smell a bit funky, the first thing you should do is take it apart and soak all the pieces in warm, soapy water. You should do this for at least 10 minutes. If this doesn’t work, you could try the following:
- Soaking in a solution of warm water and baking soda for up to two hours. Use one teaspoon of baking soda for every 500 ml of water.
- Create a baking soda paste using a teaspoon of baking soda and a splash of hot water, then use it to scrub clean any areas that are causing a problem. This is particularly useful if you notice that the seal or parts of the lid are smelly as its a gentle but intensive clean that works for smaller areas. Use a bottle brush or toothbrush to really get into all the hard-to-reach places.
- Fill your cup with hot water and add 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Leave this to soak for 15-30 minutes before cleaning with hot soapy water.
Remembering your cup
It’s very common, especially in the early days of this new habit, that you’ll forget your cup. You might have left it in the dishwasher, forgotten to get it out of the car after yesterday’s drink or left it on your desk at work.
Don’t worry – it happens to the best of us! Try reading this post on making habits stick, to learn some tips for how to keep to your new habit.
Some other ways to make sure you remember your cup:
- Put a note somewhere you will see it, like on the fridge door or your steering wheel (not when you’re driving!). It can also be helpful to move the note around so you don’t get used to it being in one place and stop noticing it!
- Set a reminder on your phone or schedule an email to send to yourself every weekday morning.
- Take it out of the dishwasher and put it in your bag or your car as soon as the dishwasher cycle finishes. That “beep” will soon become a signal that you need to remember your cup!
We hope these tips and tricks help you start a brand-new, eco-friendly habit.
Remember, if you need any more help or advice, the Ailuna team is always available, or you could check out the community of others who are taking part or have already completed this action.
You can do this – we believe in you!