The KeepCup is a reusable coffee cup that has been designed to minimise the carbon footprint of the world’s takeaway coffee addiction. Most components are recyclable and all can be individually replaced.

The KeepCup is one of the world’s most iconic reusable coffee cups. The fully customisable range of cups comes in either glass or plastic, and provide a user friendly alternative to single use coffee cups. Each component of the cup is designed with the full life cycle impact in mind – all of the plastic and glass components can be disposed of in ordinary household recycling bins at the end of its useful life. The optional cork bands are made from waste off-cuts from Portuguese wine cork producers, and can be composted. All parts of a KeepCup can be purchased separately, meaning that parts that are broken or lost can be individually replaced, eliminating the need to purchase a whole new cup. (The author can vouch for this after having dropped a glass KeepCup on the pavement).

KeepCups are primarily manufactured in Melbourne, Australia, in a facility powered by solar energy, further lowering the embodied emissions in each cup. In order to reduce transit emissions, the company also opened a facility in the UK which will become solar powered in 2019. All packaging is made from recycled or FSC certified cardboard, and shipping costs are always charged to consumers in order to remind them that there is always an embodied environmental cost associated with shipping, and encourage them to buy locally.

The company estimates that over five million disposable coffee cups are saved every day thanks to the eight million cups that have been sold to date. In fact, a life cycle assessment conducted in 2018 estimates that if everyone in Australia used a KeepCup, the reduction in CO2 emissions each year would be equivalent to 100,000 hours of flight time in a Boeing 747 plane. In addition, it estimated that the overall carbon footprint of a reusable KeepCup is 88% lower than a compostable coffee cup.

Why you should care

Single use cardboard coffee cups are extremely difficult to recycle because they are lined with plastic. In Australia, which has a population of just 25 million, over one billion single use coffee cups are used each year – equating to 40 per person annually – and over 90% of these end up in vast landfills. KeepCup is helping to tackle this enormous waste stream by providing customers with a user-friendly, personalised alternative to single use coffee cups.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Responsible consumption and production

KeepCup estimates that they save five million disposable coffee cups from waste streams each day - or 3.5 billion cups since the company started in 2009.

Climate action

KeepCups have an 88% lower carbon footprint than the next most sustainable alternative, compostable cups, because they avoid repeated emissions from production and transportation.