Whether you’re a fan of the latte, cappuccino, macchiato, straight black or even the classic flat white, there is no denying Australian’s love their morning coffee on the go. While some people have reusable coffee cups handy during morning rush, the majority of coffee drinkers opt for the fast and easy “disposable” coffee cup to hold their morning brew.
While this is fantastic for both the local economy and our own mental well-being, there are some negative side effects to that morning coffee.
It's now well-recognised that disposable coffee cups are largely unrecyclable and an environmental disaster across the world, filling up landfill and polluting waterways and our environs. Australia’s obsession with coffee has led to an extra 7,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from disposable cups. While many may think that these ‘harmless’ paper cups are recyclable, they aren’t and here’s why.
Less than 1 in 400 ‘disposable’ coffee cups are recycled. The irony is that most of these ‘disposable’ or ‘recyclable’ coffee cups cannot be recycled due to their plastic lining. In fact, the plastic lining in your morning coffee cup will outlive you!
While the paper part of the cup will break down rather quickly, it will take over 30 years for the plastic lining to fragment and close to 100 years to break down completely. That is still only if the plastic has the perfect environmental conditions to break down.
So waste-conscious Australians are taking responsibility into their own hands for their take-away caffeine indulgence by investing in reusable BYO coffee cups (#byocup).
Where once these were large insulated vessels that could accommodate half a pint or more of coffee, probably poured from a drip filter coffee pot and drunk over four or more hours, there's now a wide range of sizes and styles to fit the full menu of coffees on offer in Australia's thriving cafe culture.
And if you have a cafe in your 'hood that's signed up to responsiblecafes.org, bringing your own cup could save you around 50c on your coffee.
Whether you're using it on your commute, at your desk or on the weekend there's likely to be a perfect mobile mug out there for you. Which one you prefer when it comes to look and feel can be subjective, but if you're after a cup that keeps drinks hotter for longer the double-walled products retained the most heat, and of those, the stainless steel models do so better than plastic and ceramic.