A Zero Waste Guide to Reusable Coffee Cups

Is a reusable coffee cup a zero waste essential? Well, that depends on your perspective. Do you think that coffee is a life essential? ;)

Seriously, whether you personally think so or not, the fact is that over 500 billion disposable coffee cups are produced every year. Which clearly shows that plenty of people do think coffee is a life necessity.

Reusable coffee cups are the obvious solution if we are to do something to stem this tide of disposables heading to landfill (or worse) every year.

Use a reusable just 15 times and the environment wins. (Hocking’s 1994 lifecycle energy analysis found that ceramic cups needed to be used 39 times, plastic cups 17 times, and glass cups 15 times before they became equally energy efficient to plastic-lined paper cups.)

Bear in mind that a reusable, looked after, will last for many years.

The message that these cups send is just as (maybe more) important than the vessels themselves. It’s about showing the solution. Demonstrating to the public that there is an alternative. Showing others that there are people (us!) who care about this issue, and are doing something about it.

Making reusables a little more socially acceptable, and single-use disposables a little less so. Changing the story about convenience.

With this in mind, I’ve put together a list of some of the best reusable coffee cup brands that I could find. Companies that not only make great reusables, but that care about the impact single-use items have on the planet.

(This is not a sponsored post. None of these brands have paid to be featured.)

Choosing Reusables: Coffee Cups

All brands listed below make cups that are barista standard. This means they hold the same volume as standardised disposable takeaway cups, and fit underneath a coffee machine.

Most reusable takeaway cups do have a small element of plastic or silicone, because they need a sealable lid and a band to protect the fingers from burns. Their primary purpose is takeaway, after all.

I’ve listed brand websites below, but if you’re looking for a local store to make a purchase from, I have a worldwide list of local online zero waste stores. Please try to support a local independent business, if you can. The big department stores and Amazon really don’t need our money, and these small businesses do.

7 Reusable Zero Waste Coffee Cup Brands I Recommend

1. KeepCup

KeepCup is possibly the original reusable cup brand, and if not the first, definitely the most well known.

KeepCup began in 2009, and are now sold in 65 countries around the world. KeepCup ship from Australia, the UK and the USA.

Their cups are available in both plastic and glass. All cups have a plastic lid (plastic #4, LDPE) which is hard and rigid, with a plastic plug (a polyethylene polymer called TPU). The bands are made of silicone.

Their plastic cups (plastic #5, or polypropylene – considered to be the best food grade plastic with thermal stability) come in 5 sizes: 4oz (the ideal size for a babycino), 6oz, 8oz, 12oz and 16oz. Their glass cups come in 3 sizes: 8oz, 12oz and 16oz. Additionally, they offer a glass “LongPlay” booster for the 12oz and 16oz sizes which creates a double-walled vessel to keep hot drinks hot (and cold drinks cold) for longer.

Their KeepCup Brew edition features a glass cup (8oz, 12oz or 16oz) with a cork band, making it their least plastic option.

W: https://keepcup.com

2. JOCO Cup

JOCO cups were the first company to produce a barista standard glass coffee cup. The glass cups come in 3 sizes: 8oz, 12oz and 16oz. The lid is made of silicone, which makes it soft and rubbery. The band is also made of silicone.

JOCO cups are distributed worldwide, and ship from Australia and the USA.

W: https://jococups.com

3. La Bontazza

La Bontazza is another Australian company (influenced by Italian style) that produces reusable glass coffee cups with silicone lids and bands. La Bontazza are the only company I’ve found that make a small 4oz reusable coffee cup in glass – perfect for short macchiato drinkers, espresso drinkers and babycino drinkers (who are old enough to handle a glass cup).

Their three cup sizes are 4oz, 8oz and 12oz.

W: http://www.labontazza.com

4. Planet Cups by Pottery for the Planet

Planet Cups are handmade pottery cups fitted with a silicone lid, and with an optional silicone band. They are available in 3 sizes: 6 oz, 8oz and 12oz. Every single cup is unique, being made by Renton Bishopric ceramics in their Queensland studio.

The cups are not currently sold via their website, but stockists can be found via their social media channels.

W: http://www.rentonbishopric.com

5. Cupit by Kahla

Kahla is a German ceramics manufacturer who produces Cupit, a range of white ceramic reusable coffee cups in three sizes: 8oz, 12oz and 16oz. The lid is available to purchase separate from the cup. Both the cups and the lids are made in Germany.

The ceramic cups have a silicone foot at the base, making them non slip. The lid is plastic, and the band that wraps around the cup is fixed and cannot be removed. The cups are slightly heavier than a glass reusable coffee cup, and are very sturdy.

W: http://en.kahlaporzellan.com

6. Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen produce insulated stainless steel tumblers with a plastic tumbler lid in 3 sizes: 8oz, 16oz and 20oz. The tumbler lid is designed for transporting liquids (although it is not leak proof) but is not designed for drinking through.

W: https://www.kleankanteen.com

7. Ecojarz

For anyone who doesn’t drink takeaway often and doesn’t see the need for a purpose-built vessel, Ecojarz offer an alternative: a stainless steel drinking lid with silicone seal that fits your existing wide-mouth mason or canning jars.

They also offer hot drink holders and silicone bands.

W: http://ecojarz.com

Of course, I realise that reusable coffee cups aren’t for everybody. (Is anything?!) You may not be a daily takeaway coffee drinker. But I’ve no doubt that you know someone who is. The public’s perception of plastic bags has shifted, plastic pollution awareness is rising, and tackling disposable coffee cups seem the next logical step.

Reusable coffee cups are a great and practical solution.

Let’s get the conversation started. Bring on the reuse revolution. 

Now I’d love to hear from you! Do you use a reusable coffee cup? Do you use one of these brands listed or an alternative I haven’t mentioned? Do you make do with a DIY approach? Do you think reusable coffee cups are a load of nonsense? Any other thoughts to add? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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A Zero Waste Guide to Reusable Coffee Cups
68 replies
  1. Dee Weaver
    Dee Weaver says:

    Interesting post. I bought a glass KeepCup but the silicone band got too hot to hold, and also was too narrow to get a proper grip without my fingers touching the even hotter glass. I then bought a Pokito cup. OK, it’s a sort of plastic, but it will last for years, collapses when not in use so it’s easy to carry, is comfortable to hold and has a heat-proof foot so that I can hold it in one hand and rest it on the other if I want to. It’s not pretty, but I love it :)

    • Andrew Brooks
      Andrew Brooks says:

      Hello Dee and Lindsay, apart from being gutted that you thought our pokito was not pretty, it was great to hear how much you love it! I’m sure we’d all agree that the most important thing is that you reuse your cups regularly whichever one suits. One of the key reasons we developed pokito was to help “ease the load” if you’re on foot. The lighter, less bulkier it is, the more likely you’ll have it on hand when you need it. Andrew

    • Lindsay (Treading My Own Path)
      Lindsay (Treading My Own Path) says:

      Love both of these Jeanie! Nothingbetter than a reusable that has been reused and reused and reused, and love the oldskool “bring a mug” approach! One of my local cafes accept this too, I’ve seen it happen a few places (but some don’t like it because they want their drinks standard sizes). If this is an option for people, do it! :)

  2. Darren Pine
    Darren Pine says:

    Don’t know the brand of our reusable cups. A local coffee shop has a deal where you buy the cup and get it filled for about a couple of dollars more than a cup of coffee. My wife and were some of the first, and had our photos taken for their Facebook page.

    • Lindsay (Treading My Own Path)
      Lindsay (Treading My Own Path) says:

      And at the end of the day, who cares about brands Darren, so long as they do the job?! ;) I do like it when coffee shops sell their own cups and offer a free refill or cheap refill the first time you use it. Plus love that you were reusable cup ‘slebrities’!

  3. Jocelyn Geraghty
    Jocelyn Geraghty says:

    My partner and I have been using stainless steel Avanti double walled coffee mugs daily for over 20 years. They don’t have lids but if we don’t lose them they will outlast us.

  4. Vetch
    Vetch says:

    Years ago I bought a thermos two cups by emsa ( https://www.emsa.com/en/products/mobile-enjoyment/thermo-mugs/ ) which are pferfect. I can throw the filled cups into my bag without any fear of spilling. And the contents keep hot.
    Recently I got a bambooCup, coz it’s so pretty… and weighs much less than glass, of cousre. Not isolated and not to be securely closed, can only be used like paper-plastic-togo-cups. Of which I’ve never used one for years – and I drink a lot of coffee to go.

      • Vetch
        Vetch says:

        There are some shops that can fill the thermos, but yea, some can’t. Another reason for the BambooCup. <3
        I even used it just for getting coffee which I then poured into the thermos. I am an addict… I love coffee — and cups, too, =)

    • Frieda
      Frieda says:

      Thanks for sharing, Vetch! I haven’t bought me a cup yet because I wan’t it to be 100% spillproof. Now, I will order me an emsa-cup.
      Greetings from Finland!

      • Vetch
        Vetch says:

        Great! Less waste, more hot coffee and dry bags. Always check if you have klicked it close, though. I know why I am mentioning this… :P
        Greetings to Finland <3 from Germany =)
        (I have started to have computer off days, and since I started the offline time grows… a good thing, I think, but that's why I didn't see your comment before.)

  5. Holly
    Holly says:

    I’m surprised you don’t have Contigo on your list – New York City is swarming with them. I was a hard sell because I loved my ceramic cup, but Contigo is so light, doesn’t leak (you can throw it in your purse completely full), and keeps liquids hot or cold for hours. It’s amazing.

  6. Tricia Luck
    Tricia Luck says:

    We treated ourselves to a Cheeki stainless steel cup. The lscreww on lid seals well and a finger press allows you to drink from all sides. Another press repeals the cup. Great for a one handed husband.

  7. Chamali Egodagamage
    Chamali Egodagamage says:

    I use a plastic keepcup when I travel on airlines and a Joco for when I’m hanging out at home in Melbourne. I prefer the feel of the Joco but don’t want it confiscated at airport security.

  8. Eija
    Eija says:

    In Finland we usually take proper coffee breaks, but when I started studying at the university a few years back, I suddenly felt the need to buy a reusable coffee cup. The breaks between lessons are so short that when all the 100+ people from your class hurry to line up at the closest cafeteria, the break time often goes standing in that line and you have to take your coffee with you to auditorium. And I’m totally helpless with the disposaple lids, I always make a mess with them!

    I ended up buying my cup from a local store and because of that the choice was basicly between a ceramic cup with a poor lid and a plastic cup with a perfect lid that is spill proof and good for drinking as well. So, I ended up with the plastic one and even though it’s great, I wish I had seen a little more trouble and ordered a glass cup online. If I were to buy one now, I think I’d go for the double-walled KeepCup. Unfortunately there is absolutely nothing wrong with the plastic cup I already have, so I probably won’t have any excuse to buy a new cup for years to come. :D

    • Lindsay (Treading My Own Path)
      Lindsay (Treading My Own Path) says:

      I can relate to this Eija, because when I went plastic-free / zero waste back in 2012 there were a whole lot less options! And now I see much better choices, and think – well, if I made my decision again I’d choose differently, only… I don’t want to make a new purchase! I did swap my plastic KeepCup for a glass one, because I didn’t like the taste of plastic. But I do still have the plastic one for emergencies, and as a container.

  9. Ellen Gregory
    Ellen Gregory says:

    I have a stojo collapsible cup, but I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with spillage on my clothes, which has put me off a little… the lip is quite chunky to drink from. I’m off to check out the pokita one. (Fortunately I’m usually sitting in a cafe to drink my coffee, so don’t need a portable one all that often. When I do, I need to carry it, hence my need for a collapsible one.)
    Fab blog, by the way. I’ve signed up for your updates and am sharing with my zero-waste facebook group. :-)

  10. S Osaka
    S Osaka says:

    The best ‘to go’ cup is a second-hand one! I find an amazing array of cups at my local thrift store. They are cheaper and pull material out of the waste stream.

  11. Steph
    Steph says:

    Confession: I have more than one reusable coffee cup.

    Before everyone leaps down my throat – yeah, it’s less than ideal, but I’ve come to the conclusion I’m a particularly scatterbrained person and I drink a lot of coffee. It’s better I have cups at work, in my car and in my bag than try to remember the one then get annoyed when I inevitably forget.

    The one in my car is a Vera Wang travel mug, it’s a non-standard size when it comes to cafe coffee (~300ml). It was given as a gift for Christmas a few years ago, out of all my mugs it’s probably used the least (especially since you can’t microwave it). It’s more for occasions people want to offer me a plastic cup for juice or cocktails than for coffee, but I’ve also used it to store things like coffee beans when I’ve run out of space in the passata jar I normally use. I feel super classy drinking cocktails or soft drink at house parties out of it, lol.

    • Lindsay (Treading My Own Path)
      Lindsay (Treading My Own Path) says:

      You’re not the first person I’ve met who has more than one, Steph! If more than one works for you and makes life easier, don’t feel like you need to defend yourself! I know a few people who keep one at work and one in the car. I do suspect it’s relative to how much coffee you drink! ;)

  12. Alice Rendle
    Alice Rendle says:

    Great to see this and totally agree that this is the way to go for the future. In our roastery café /shop we sell the ecoffee bamboo cup and the Pokito. I think the more the better!

  13. Kyla
    Kyla says:

    Some great cups. I use a BPA free collapsible cup from Pokito as it can be used for espresso, sml and medium drinks and folds down and pops in my bag easy.

  14. Fran Cumming
    Fran Cumming says:

    just bought my Pokito to take travelling to california (I live in Sydney). I will try it at Disneyland, but I have heard that they don’t accept them….my challenge!

  15. Alan
    Alan says:

    Nice post, but I’m surprised there is no bamboo coffee cup on the list. They are not only reusable, but also biodegradable.

    • Lindsay (Treading My Own Path)
      Lindsay (Treading My Own Path) says:

      Hi Alan. I deliberately chose to leave them off as I haven’t found any that are certified compostable or certified biodegradable. I also found most companies refused to share any details about their claims, or even reply to my emails. The best brand I found was 84% biodegradable, and contained melamine. I’d rather choose glass, stainless steel or ceramic. That’s my personal choice.

  16. Daisy
    Daisy says:

    A friend and I were wondering about the Keepcup as some reviews online said the glass ones were leakproof, so thank you for clearing that up for us! I’m still wondering which one to get…

      • Daisy
        Daisy says:

        I’ve been slow about getting one as I don’t want to end up buying another one later but will definitely check fhe recommendations. Thanks for all the value btw, I binge read your blog since I posted this and have gotten a lot of great advice and inspiration for my own gradually zero-waste journey.

  17. Richard S
    Richard S says:

    Hi Lindsay really like your page. I’ve been looking for an espresso sized reusable for several years to no avail. However, reading your page I’ve just ordered two Bontazzas ( – one for home one for work!). I’ve been using the 6 oz glass Keep Cup for a year, which I really like but it’s just too big and the coffee gets cold, and asked them if they’d make a glass 4oz but apparently not enough interest! Well I can hardly wait for my Bontazzas to arrive.

    • Lindsay (Treading My Own Path)
      Lindsay (Treading My Own Path) says:

      Hi Richard and I totally hear you! I drink espresso and picolos and there is nothing worse than what looks like a teaspoon of coffee in the bottom of a big mug! And yes, it goes cold very fast. I don’t love the little plastic KeepCups either. Bontazza are the only company I’ve seen that makes a small cup. Glad to have helped! Hope you like them!

  18. Stephanie Wegener
    Stephanie Wegener says:

    Hello! This is a great article and has great suggestions. I was wondering, is there a difference between using a thermos or a reusable coffee cup/tumbler? Is either option more environmentally friendly? If thermos are also a good eco-friendly option, do you have any brands you would personally recommend?

    • Lindsay (Treading My Own Path)
      Lindsay (Treading My Own Path) says:

      Hi Stephanie! A thermos is insulated, and most of the glass/plastic cups are not. It really depends how fast you drink your drink, I think. I find the glass to keep the heat enough – after all, they serve coffee in shops in glasses and cups – but if you’re a slow drinker insulated might be better?

  19. Barbara Obrai
    Barbara Obrai says:

    I have been looking for a travel cup for a while now. I want something beautiful – to inspire myself and others; something easy to carry; something for hot coffee (Canada in winter!). Not everyone makes that last point clear. Thanks to your post I now know what size to look for too.

  20. Lara
    Lara says:

    Hi Lindsay!

    Have you tried the Avanti Go Cup or the Klean Kanteen tumblers or TKwide? I love that the TKwide is leak proof, but the tumblers are more suited for coffees… The Avanti Go Cups seem to be an in between. They have a closeable lid and are a nicer shape than the TKwide.
    I’ve spent toooo long researching, haha.
    Thanks heaps,


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