Gifts,  Out and about

A stylish, sturdy and plastic-free reusable coffee cup

It’ll come as no surprise that single-use plastic consumption has sky-rocketed in the face of Covid-19. It’s easy to understand why. But, as we all know, the throw-away approach wasn’t sustainable before the pandemic. That’s about the only thing that hasn’t changed. 

A cultural shift pre-pandemic

In the last few years, great strides had been made in ditching single-use when out and about. Bring your own “vessel” had become mainstream and expected.

Most coffee shops and cafes were accepting customer cups instead of handing out disposables. Many even gave a little discount to encourage it. Hooray!

A backwards step

Then Covid-19 struck. And with that reusables went out the window. Particularly as the virus was so new and unstudied.

Of course, most coffee shops had to close temporarily so although that has been devastating on so many other levels, at least it saved on crazy amounts of single-use plastic waste in the short term.

But as places have reopened, the reusable cup hasn’t been welcomed back universally. At least for now. 

The good news is that many outlets have signed up to a best practice trial for using reusables safely. For more info, see this great article by edie.net.

Out and about again without the plastic

So, when would you use a reusable coffee cup now anyway especially as we’re still in the clutches of the pandemic? Grabbing a quick caffeine fix on the go has become less likely given all the recent local lockdown measures in the UK.

Even though you’re out and about less, it’s always handy to have a reusable cup to hand. Maybe you’ll bump into someone you know and decide to do an impromptu socially distanced catch up or walk and talk with a drink. Or if you’re popping round to a friend’s garden to chat at a distance, it’s far easier (and safer) to bring your own cup ready filled! 

I also use mine when working from home. Great if you want to save on washing up/maxxing out your dishwasher. Sitting at a desk can be freezing especially if you’re resisting putting on the central heating to be greener. Having hot drinks is a great antidote.

Glass and silicone – a dream combo

If you haven’t yet got a trusty reusable or are in the market for another, Neon Kactus’ glass and silicone one is worth a try.

The key material is lightweight recyclable borosilicate glass which is hand-blown. Apparently this is one of the most sustainable and ethical ways to produce glassware. The cup has an attractive BPA-free food grade silicone sleeve and lid.

I’ve tried stainless steel cups before but don’t like the metallic taste they can leave. This cup makes sure your drinks taste as they should.

Size and colour options

The cup comes in three sizes:

S – 8 oz (240 ml)
M – 12 oz (340 ml)
L – 16 oz (480 ml)

I have the mid-sized one which is perfect. Just like a normal mug.

Nine colours are available. Depending on the size you’d like, you can go for: 

Flamingo Pink (baby pink) (S, M, L)
Rock Star (black) (S, M, L)
Forever Young (pale grey) (S, M, L)
Super Sonic (mid blue) (S, M, L)
Free Spirit (jade) (S, M, L)
Dream Believer (bright coral) (S, M)
Happy Camper (sage green) (M)
Sea Breeze (pale blue) (M)
Sun is Shining (yellow) (M)

I went for Dream Believer, as you can see from the pic.

Performance, cleaning and packaging

Temperature wise, this cup isn’t insulated but it still allows your drink to cool gradually. If you have a latte, hot chocolate or anything with milk in it, cooling time will be fast – around 5 mins. For non-milk drinks like herbal tea or filter coffee, then 10 minutes with the lid on is about right. 

The silicone sleeve really insulates your hand from the heat if you’re carrying it around. Miles more effectively than a single-use cup and sleeve.

Cleaning the cup is super easy. By hand works well or just pop it in the dishwasher. The sleeve comes off if you wish but I always leave mine on and it’s fine.

The cup comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a brown cardboard insert. The packaging is 100% plastic-free.

Good causes

Neon Kactus have partnered with a non-profit called Offset Earth so they fully offset their carbon footprint.

Also, for every order placed on Neon Kactus’ website, they donate a proportion of profits to a UK charity called Less Plastic. And they also plant a tree per order through the US charity One Tree Planted.

So if you’re keen to help make a wider difference with your purchases, these are great incentives to buy direct.

A perfect gift idea

If you already have a re-usable coffee cup and don’t want a second, this one would make a nice present for any eco-warriors in your life. 

It feels luxe, looks good and lasts well but without a crazy price tag. And, of course, the range of colours is great. I get lots of compliments when I use it (about the cup, not me, sadly!).

Please do check it out and take a look at Neon Kactus generally. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Neon Kactus coffee cups 8oz, 12oz and 16oz, from £12.99 to £14.99. Available online direct from www.neonkactus.com and also from retailers like Paperchase and eco-friendly shops like AndKeep.

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