With the awareness growing daily around disposable packaging and single use plastics, should we all start bringing our own coffee mugs for our takeaway coffees? Offering a discount to customers who bring reusable cups with them is common practice in Europe and the US, and a few South African coffee chains are jumping on board. We investigate: what’s the deal with BYO coffee mugs?
How does it work?
The main goal is to cut back on single use packaging. You, the customer, brings a reusable mug from home with you when you order your daily takeaway coffee. When ordering at the till, pass your mug to the shop assistant or the barista, and they will serve your coffee in your own mug.
Take it along with you on your commute or back to the office – no waste, and your coffee will stay hotter for longer.The coffee shop benefits because they are using less packaging, and the environment wins because there is one less coffee cup going to landfills.
But aren’t takeaway coffee cups compostable?
Some coffee cups are compostable, however many are not. Cheaper takeaway coffee cups are lined with plastic to make them sturdier when filled with hot liquid. Most compostable and ‘natural’ takeaway coffee cups aren’t recycled properly and just end up in landfills, where it is almost impossible for them to break down into compost.
Which SA coffee shops offer a discount?
It seems as if most coffee shops in South Africa are not offering a discount when customers bring their own mug. Chat to your coffee shop manager about their policy, and ask if this is something that they may consider in the future. Offering a discount to customers who bring reusable cups with them is common practice in Europe and the US, and we’re hoping it will be here too!
Local coffee shops that offer a discount:
Tribe Coffee offers any coffee for only R10 when you bring a reuseable mug.
Vida e Caffe offers a R2 discount on any coffee when you bring your own cup with you.
Seattle Coffee offers a 10% discount when you bring in your own cup. They also sell the super cute KeepCups.
Seattle at Caltex Freshstops will give you R2 off any coffee with your own mug.
Woolworths Cafe and Coffee carts offer a R1 discount when you bring your own cup.
Grounded at Eccho in Pretoria offers ceramic cups with a lid for R95 and a R2 discount on all coffees if you bring your own travel cup.
Tips to buying a good travel mug
– Some coffee shops offer the mugs for sale in store. This is a great way to support a brand of coffee that you really love.
– Stainless steel mugs are the toughest, and the easiest to clean
– Plastic mugs are best if you like to microwave your coffee
– Glass is a great allrounder, but may not hold the heat for very long
– Some mugs have a cork finish for a nice comfortable grip
– If you’re drinking coffee in the car, consider a taller, thinner mug that will fit into the cup holder.
What should I know before using my own mug?
– Your mug should always be clean, or at least well rinsed with a little water. No gross left coffee from yesterday morning, please!
– Keep your lid with you. You need only hand over your mug to the barista.
– Know that your mug will not always be full, as the barista will pour according to their company’s portion guidelines. Do not ask for extra (i.e free) coffee.
– Reusable cups are tough, but they don’t last forever. Check your mug regularly for leaks and cracks.
– Cups can look very similar, so add a unique sticker or even your name so that your barista can serve it to you (and maybe make friends!)
What else should I think about when ordering a coffee?
There are other ways that you can reduce waste when ordering a coffee. Ask if there is loose sugar in a sugar pot, instead of using sugar sachets. The sachets are made of plastic and paper and are not recyclable. Wooden stirring sticks are better because they’re not plastic, but it is still unnecessary waste. Ask you barista if you can use a stainless steel spoon that can be quickly rinsed and used again.
What has been your experience with re-useable coffee mugs? Is it something that you will consider in the future? Does your local coffee shop offer a great discount? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook or email us if you know of other coffee shops that offer discounts for BYO cups!