An Ode to Reusable Cups, Mugs and Bottles

An Ode to Reusables

A favourite cup becomes more than just a way to drink. It can become a part of the furniture, a part of what makes a home or workplace comfortable and welcoming.

Some people love to decorate glasses, cups and mugs they use at home. Other people enjoy long lasting metal, glass or high density plastic drinking bottles, using them for everything from travelling to sport events. I remember making ceramic mugs in art class in high school. Some companies even design their own company cups complete with logos or even a playful message or design. When I worked at EF Education First a senior Production Manager once gifted the team with a personal mug with a photo of them on it. This was one of the most memorable Christmas gifts I have ever received.

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Whatever the design, size or color of the reusable mug, cup, bottle, or glass, they have many benefits. They not only help keep us hydrated with safe, healthy and refreshing water or give us pleasure through beverages like tea and coffee, they also can provide – the more personal the better – a sense of familiarity and feeling of home.

Reusable cups and bottles also can have substantial environmental benefits. Globally, people are increasingly aware and concerned about the impact of waste and pollution on the environment. This includes yet goes beyond Styrofoam or single use plastic cups, and beyond what we see in shops or littered along a river.


With an estimated 8 trillion pieces of plastic dumped into the world’s oceans each year and about 91% of plastic not being recycled, the impacts of single use plastic, Styrofoam and paper cups is substantial. Yet, are reusable cups, mugs and bottles any better? After all, both create waste and air, water and landfill waste. Both can sometimes be made of non-renewable or energy intensive materials. For example, a 16 Oz paper cup takes about 33 grams of wood, over 4.1 g of petroleum, 1.8 g of chemicals, 650 BTUs of energy and half a pound of greenhouse gas emissions to produce.

Reusable cups, mugs and bottles reduce environmental footprint while continuing to provide users with what they need, such as clean water – yet only if they are used for a long period of time. According to a Lifecycle Assessment by Trinity Colleague, reusing a plastic mug more than 16 times and a ceramic mug more than 25 times creates environmental savings and less waste. After meeting the environmental ‘break-even’ point, further re-using of a cup or bottle – and avoidance of single-use cups – will generate environmental benefits.

According to Ecoffee, if 2 million people chose to reuse their cup just once a week it would save 104 million cups a year from landfill.Now, that is something worth drinking to!

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