You mug

Ditch the disposable cup

How do you take your coffee? Flat white, espresso, with a dash of global waste and climate change? Around 5 billion disposable coffee cups are used around the world every year, yet less than 1% are recycled.1

Carrying your own reusable cup when you’re out and about will help cut down on unnecessary waste while saving natural resources and reducing carbon emissions. It might even get you some money off your morning joe, too.



Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.


More and more high street and independent coffee shops now offer a discount if you bring your own reusable cup for your tea or coffee. At Starbucks and Costa, for example, you’ll save 25p. Some don’t advertise this discount though, so don’t be afraid to ask.

If you get a coffee every morning on your way to work, that’s a saving of £65!


Less than 1% of disposable paper cups are recycled in the UK every year, while in the US over 50 billion cups end up in landfill sites.2 But the reason isn’t necessarily our poor recycling habits...

Despite looking like a harmless paper cup, the vast majority of disposable coffee cups are made up of layers of paper stock and plastic lining - which is obviously necessary for waterproofing purposes. Unfortunately, most recycling plants can’t process these cups, because they can’t separate the different layers.3

That means even if you’re recycling your cups, they’ll probably all end up in the same place: landfill.


When exposed to water, disposable cups release nano-particles4 such as microplastics 5 or toxins such as melamines6 that can build up in your body, putting you at greater risk of issues such as diarrhea, bladder stones and cancer7. That means you’re probably getting an unwanted dose of microplastics and toxins alongside your daily caffeine hit.8

If your cup is made of polystyrene, your drink could also be infused with a chemical called styrene, which has been linked to several health issues and which the US National Research Council believe is a human carcinogen.9

So ditch the disposable and pick up a reusable alternative - it’s healthier for you and the planet.

10.4 g

CO2 emissions are created per disposable cup.10

Climate change

We cut down 20 million trees to make disposable paper cups every year, using an astonishing 12 billion gallons of water.10

However, reusable cups come with a sizeable carbon footprint too - and so the climate impact of using a reusable cup isn't cut and dry. Not only do more materials go into making reusable cups, but they also need cleaning each time, using hot water and detergents.

On average, a steel cup has to be used 100+ times before its footprint is lower than that of its disposable counterpart. And a plastic cup needs to be used 30+ times. So if you buy one, be sure to make it last!

Global Goals

In September 2017, a historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'You mug' pledge, you are contributing in your own small way to the following SDG targets:

12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

12.5: By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature


This one is plain and simple: either take ten minutes to enjoy your coffee in-situ, or take a reusable cup with you when you want a hot drink on-the-go. There is no shortage of stylish, practical alternatives to the paper cup.

Here are a few of our favourites:

  1. Frank Green: easily cleanable and totally spill-proof. Fill it up, pop it in your bag, and run for the train - revolutionary.
  2. The JOCO Cup: these glass cups are BPA and chemical-free and come in standard takeaway cup sizes, meaning they’re perfect to use in your local coffee shop.
  3. The KeepCup: sustainably produced and colourful, you can pick from a range of sizes and materials or design your own.
  4. Circular & Co Cup: this is the world's first cup to be made from used cups and designed for 10 years of use.

A word to the wise: choose your cup carefully and then use it as many times as you possibly can. Reusable cups (plastic, metal and other) all have their own carbon footprint, and unless you use again and again and again, there’s a chance you’ll be causing more harm than good.

Success Stories


in total



No reusable mug no coffee to go!

I love my travel mug and I use it for everything.

I remembered to take in my own mug on most occasions, I only failed once this month.

I've been carrying my own cup in the car, and resisting buyung take-away coffee if I don't have it with me.

After purchasing a reusable cup this became easy to do. I also enjoyed my discounted drinks.

Whilst it wasn't easy at first it got easier as time went on. You just have to remember your re-usable cup each time you get out. This eventually becomes routine, and I am determined to continue with my pledge. Some coffee shops are a bit startled when I get my cup out but that's alright. I feel as if this makes a difference, and I'm happy that I started it, as small changes can make a difference. I wish everyone would try this, it would change a lot of things for the better and make you more self-aware in this consumerist society, where a small price comes at a huge cost to the environment.

Small differences can make a difference, however small changes in lifestyle should give confidence and inspiration to consider bigger things.

I mostly remembered/always remembered but sometimes wasn't as diligent as I could have been. It was great to have made the pledge though, and work to cement the rule. I will continue to try my best to bring my own fillable vestibles for takeaway drinks.

I have my own keepcup now and I intend to continue to use it until the glass degrades back to silica.

This is one we should all do all the time! My resuable mug lives in my office now and I've enlisted 2 friends at work to nag me to go get it if I forget it - and they do the same :)

Also helped me save money by not buying a coffee and making one for myself instead!

Roughly working it out, I have saved myself using 80-100 disposable cups over the past 2 months.