Disposable paper cups are made from plastic. The paper is coated in a polyethyene lining to make it waterproof and the plastic lid is made from polystyrene. There is enough plastic in 20 disposable cups and lids to make one Keepcup, so if you use a KeepCup for a year instead of disposables, you will have saved 3kg of plastic
As the plastic is bonded to the paper, disposable cups compromise paper recycling when placed in paper recycling facilities. Unless commercially composted in a separate waste stream, almost all disposable cups end up incinerated or in landfill.
Half the plastic used in the world today is used in single use items. The issues around renewable and non-renewable resources are very complex, but the sustainability hierarchy is incontrovertible – reduce, reuse, recycle – recycling is the last resort. It is less about material than it is about volume.
Plant based plastics seem like great options because the material is renewable, however they do not provide a premium drinking experience and do not last very long.
As a business, we are committed to a responsible supply chain. We ship in components, we assemble locally and have moved some of our manufacturing to the UK as part of our commitment to the best environmental outcomes. We are watching the plastics space carefully, in the meantime we continue to choose polypropylene as it is the most widely recycled plastic in the world. Vegetable based plastics are not without sourcing issues and they are too unstable for the quality of product we wish to produce.
But all this amounts to nothing, if the reusable you choose, sits dusty in the cupboard, or splits after three uses. Our belief at KeepCup is that the best reusable is the one you use, and whilst sustainable supply and manufacture are critical, quality and enjoyment play a role in adopting new behaviours. Usability is about much more than material, it is about a quality drinking experience.
The best reusable is the one you use.