The average American produces 4.4 pounds of waste every day. In a country with approximately 326 million people, that adds up to over 1.4 billion pounds of trash produced every day in the US. In 2013, it was estimated that 254 million tons of waste was generated in the United States alone. While figuring out how to tackle this issue may seem overwhelming, you can make a big impact on the environment by replacing single-use coffee cups with reusable coffee cups.

It's been estimated that 50 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away every year in the US alone. Because of the polyethylene coating inside the cup, designed to make the cups leakproof, these cups aren't recyclable and end up piling up in landfills. To keep our planet safe for future generations, make the switch from paper cups to reusable coffee cups. Here are some of my favorite brands for reusable coffee cups. 

#SpoonTip: Make sure you ask if the coffee shop can put your drink in your reusable cup before telling them your order. Oftentimes they will begin preparing your drink while you're still talking. 

1. S'well  

S'well is known for their beautifully designed water bottles, but did you know they also have coffee travelers? Their travelers are well insulated, insanely sturdy, and they have a great selection of colors and patterns.  

2. KeepCup

The great thing about KeepCup is you can design your own. They have so many color options — the possibilities are endless. Also, the cork band is made from waste product from wine cork manufacturers in Portugal. 


I absolutely love the simplistic design of KINTO tumblers. They're easy to take apart and clean — however, they advise against putting it in the dishwasher. 

4. Surfers Against Sewage

Surfers Against Sewage is an incredible organization based in the UK that is constantly working to improve water quality and reduce plastic pollution. Their bamboo coffee cup is great because once you've decided you're done with it, you can recycle the lid and sleeve and compost the cup! It's also one of the cheaper options on this list. 

5. Contigo

Contigo mugs are everywhere. You can easily purchase one at your local Walmart or Target. They keep your drink hot or cold for hours, are reasonably sturdy, and leak-proof.

6. Mason Jar

Mason jars are cheap and super versatile. You can use them for storage, planting, and drinking. For hot coffee, it's best to get a mason jar that has a handle, or purchase a jacket or cozy for the jar. If you don't like drinking from the rim, there are accessories you can purchase like silicone drinking lids or straw hole lids. They are a great budget option that is also very cute.

Easy Ways to Reduce Waste

1. Use reusable straws instead of plastic. When you're at restaurants, make sure to ask for your drink without a straw — most of the time you don't need them.

2. Skip the receipt. At some locations you can opt to not get a paper receipt, or you can have it emailed or texted to you. 

3. If you're planning to enjoy your coffee at the coffee shop, see if they have real mugs you can use. Most places (including Starbucks) do have this option, although it isn't well-known. 

4. If you make coffee at home, compost the coffee grounds. You can use it as fertilizer for your plants if you have a garden. 

It's important to remain aware of the amount of waste we produce. Implementing just a few simple changes to your routine can help you become more aware of and reduce your contribution to the growing waste issue.