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9 best reusable coffee cups and travel mugs that aren’t adding to the landfill

Billions of single-use cups are chucked every year, so consider swapping to these sustainable alternatives

Emily Goddard
Tuesday 02 April 2024 17:18 BST
We tested glass, steel and silicone cups – with both hot and cold bevs
We tested glass, steel and silicone cups – with both hot and cold bevs (The Independent)
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Britain has a love affair with coffee. As a nation, we drink about 95 million cups a day, with the average fan sipping two cups daily. Some people have their own at-home morning routine, while others frequently visit their favourite cafe or coffee shop for a takeout brew on the way to work.

Britons spend billions of pounds a year at high street coffee chains. It’s a habit that does not come cheap, and it could be costing the earth.

The UK’s fondness for takeaway coffee sees us disposing of 2.5 billion plastic-coated takeaway cups annually, and that number is set to increase by a third by 2030. Only one in 400 cups is recycled. The rest are sent to landfill, generating 152,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – equivalent to the emissions of 33,300 cars.

In light of this, is now finally the time to start making the shift? A breakup between Britain and coffee shops is unlikely, so we need to limit the environmental impact in other ways, and reusable coffee cups could help.

Baristas will gladly make your regular drink in your own refillable cup, and some retailers even offer discounts or extra loyalty stamps if you have one. When you’ve finished your drink, take it home to wash up for use the next day. Your coffee experience will be all the better for knowing that you’re not contributing to waste and are doing your bit to care for the planet.

How we tested

There are dozens of reusable coffee cups available as brands try to help consumers be more environmentally conscious. To help you find the right one for you, we’ve whittled down the options to the ones we think are best. There are glass, stainless steel and silicone versions, those that look like takeaway coffee cups and others that more closely resemble a bottle.

Each one included in our roundup has been tested with hot drinks and some also with cold. We’ve rated each on drinking experience, functionality, ease of use, leak protection, design and looks. It’s time to quit your takeaway cup habit.

The best reusable coffee cups for 2024 are:

  • Best reusable coffee cup overall – Circular&Co reusable coffee cup: £15.99,
  • Best collapsible coffee cup – Stojo on the go coffee cup: £14.99,
  • Best for iced coffee – S’well traveler: £35.29,
  • Best smart coffee mug – Ember travel mug²: £199.95,

Circular&Co reusable coffee cup

Circular&Co reusable coffee cup, 355ml  indybest.jpg
  • Best: Reusable coffee cup overall
  • Available sizes: 236ml and 355ml
  • Why we love it
    • Made with recycled cups
    • Designed to be durable
    • 360-degree drinking
    • Leak-proof

We named the Circular&Co reusable coffee cup our best buy before, and we’re doing it again. Even after testing many different mugs, it’s still our favourite in all the factors we consider important – not least because the company helps tackle the problem of takeaway cups in more ways than one. The brand collects millions of used coffee cups from around the country, cleans and shreds them and blends the material with a recycled polymer to form the new cups. The result is a robust, high-quality travel cup that is designed to last a decade and is 100 per cent recycled again at the end of its life.

The smooth cup allows for a 360-degree drinking experience, which means it feels no different to drinking from a standard mug or coffee cup, and it kept our drinks hot for longer than an hour. Plus, it is leakproof, thanks to a lid that clicks open and closed when pushed. It’s also dishwasher safe on the top shelf, is excellent value for money, and there are several colour combinations to choose from, so you’ll undoubtedly find a favourite.

  1. £15 from
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Stojo on the go coffee cup

Stojo on the go coffee cup, 355ml  indybest.jpg
  • Best: Collapsible cup
  • Available sizes: 355ml
  • Why we love it
    • Collapsible design
  • Take note
    • It can leak when squeezed

Having only a dinky bag is no excuse for not carrying a reusable coffee cup because Stojo’s design collapses down to a couple of inches high for easy storage on the go. It’s a clever concept, but you’ll need to be mindful that the cup’s body is made from flexible silicone, because we found that it can leak when it’s full and accidentally squeezed. The insulated heat sleeve can help stop too much pressure from being put on the flexible part, and it keeps your hands safe because the cup can get quite hot.

The cup is pleasant to drink from and features a swivel stopper to close the mouthpiece and prevent leaks, but we wouldn’t risk putting it in our bags if it were full. There are plenty of design options and colours, and we like that there is the option of a straw, which also folds down inside the cup.

  1. £14 from
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Klean Kanteen insulated tkwide with café cap

Klean Kanteen insulated tkwide with café cap, 355ml  indybest.jpg
  • Best: For hiking
  • Available sizes: 355ml
  • Why we love it
    • Incorporates recycled materials
    • Insulated
  • Take note
    • Too small for long hikes

No hike is complete without a warming brew for when you’re taking a well-earned breather. You’ll want a lightweight, leakproof, insulating container to carry it in safely, and we think this cup is among the best for the job. It’s compact, features a durable metal loop for attaching to a bag or belt and is made from 90 per cent recycled food-grade stainless steel that can take the bumps of outdoor adventures.

The insulating performance is outstanding, keeping drinks hot for up to 11 hours and cold for 38 hours, perfect for long expeditions (although we’d suggest taking more than one cup because you’ll need more than 355ml to stay hydrated). Instead of a hinged lid, this cup features a twistable cover that reveals a smooth opening for comfortable, dribble-free drinking.

  1. £25 from
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S’well traveler

best reusable coffee cup 2024 review indybest S’well traveler
  • Best: For iced coffee
  • Available sizes: 355ml, 470ml, 590ml
  • Why we love it
    • Easy to clean
    • Wide enough for ice cubes
    • Insulated

As the temperature rises, our drinks get cooler, and we need a reusable cup for iced lattes and frappes. Enter S’well’s traveler, which is perfect for both hot and cold drinks. The design is simple, with only the bottle and lid, making it super easy to keep clean and fresh.

We found this to be among the best bottles for mouthfeel because you drink from it like you would a conventional cup or mug, and it’s just as good if used with a straw. The wide opening is also ideal for adding ice cubes, whether crushed or whole, and makes cleaning easy.

We found it kept our cold drinks cool for several hours, up to 24 in fact, not that you’ll be able to resist drinking a delicious frappe for that length of time. But this cup is equally good all year round because it keeps hot drinks warm for up to 12 hours, and the insulation keeps the outer bottle cool enough to handle safely.

  1. £35 from
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KeepCup design your own

KeepCup design your own, from 227ml  indybest.jpg
  • Best: Customisable cup
  • Available sizes: 227ml, 340ml, 454ml
  • Why we love it
    • Great for personalisation
    • Replacement parts are available
  • Take note
    • Not insulated

There are now dozens of options for drinks at coffee shops, so why should the size and design of your reusable cup be limited? KeepCup doesn’t think it should and offers a design-your-own service on its trusty cups. The sizes available are 227ml, 340ml and 454ml, and there are options for the material the cup is made from, including glass, stainless steel and the original plastic. You can choose between a cork or a silicone heat band on the glass versions, and there are so many colour combinations to choose from, allowing you to create something truly personal.

As with all the brand’s cups, the lid pushes on for a secure fit, and there is a smooth opening from which to drink that can be closed with the swivel stopper. We love that KeepCup also sells replacement parts to keep your cup going for many years and out of landfill.

  1. £16 from
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SoleCup travel mug

SoleCup travel mug, 310ml  indybest.jpg
  • Best: For tea drinkers
  • Available sizes: 310ml
  • Why we love it
    • Includes a smoothie filter
    • Glass doesn’t effect the flavour of the tea
  • Take note
    • Not insulalted

Real tea fans will agree that tea bags are equivalent to the coffee world’s instant drink and loose leaves are king for the perfect cuppa. The only thing is that drinking them on the go isn’t always possible because an infuser is essential, and few travel cups feature them. But the SoleCup is here to make your proper tea-drinking dreams a reality. It features a beautifully designed tea diffuser that attaches to the lid and holds plenty of loose leaves for the perfect brew. A detachable plastic smoothie filter is also included in the box.

The cup is a charming, colourful little number too, with plenty of options to choose from, including whether you have a silicone or cork heat band. Best of all, the cup is made from glass, which we find is the best for tea because it doesn’t affect the delicate flavour.

  1. £20 from
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Ember travel mug²

Ember travel mug², 355ml  indybest.jpg
  • Best: Smart mug
  • Available sizes: 355ml
  • Why we love it
    • Elegant look
    • 360-degree drinking
    • Leak-proof
  • Take note
    • It’s pricey
    • Three hour battery life

Smart tech makes almost every area of our lives that little bit easier nowadays, including on-the-go drinking with the Ember mug². It is a marvellous bit of kit, and you’ll never worry about cold tea or coffee again if you choose to invest in one.

Set your perfect drinking temperature – between 50C and 62.5C – and you will get a notification from a phone app to say it has reached that optimum point, plus the mug will keep it there for three hours. A touch-sensitive display on the front of the mug itself can also be used to check and change the temperature, so no worry if your phone is not at hand.

The black matte cup looks elegant, and it is comfortable to hold and use, with 360-degree drinking. Plus, it is 100 per cent leakproof, with a push of the lid to open and close with a tight seal. We tipped it up when it was full several times to test, and not a drop came out.

The mug comes with a matte black charging coaster, which we keep on our desks because the battery life does not last beyond those three hours. And despite the internal electrics, this cup is safe to handwash and submersible up to 1m in water, but do not put anything but the lid in the dishwasher.

  1. £199 from
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BugBear antimicrobial purple corduroy

BugBear antimicrobial purple knit cup, 310ml  indybest.jpg
  • Best: For hygiene
  • Available sizes: 310ml
  • Why we love it
    • Cool antimicrobial technology
    • Leak-proof
  • Take note
    • Only eeps drinks warm for over an hour

Clean freaks will love the idea of this travel cup. The cute design that we tested makes it look like the cup is wearing a knitted cosy, but really it is made from food-grade stainless steel treated with AntiBug technology. While the knit cup is out of stock, you can still shop the corduroy design instead. This antimicrobial silver ion material kills 99.9 per cent of all known bacteria, including MRSA, E. coli and salmonella, and lasts for the lifetime of the cup, which is about five years. This doesn’t mean you can get out of washing it as you would any other cup. It will still need cleaning after use, but it just adds a little extra protection.

Besides its bug-killing powers, the cup is comfortable to drink from and pretty good at keeping the liquid inside warm for over an hour. It’s also leakproof thanks to the hinged stopper that closes the mouthpiece.

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Smidge citrus travel cup

Smidge citrus travel cup, 236ml  indybest.jpg
  • Best: For colour
  • Available sizes: 236ml, 355ml, 473ml
  • Why we love it
    • Insulated
    • Leak-proof
  • Take note
    • Mouthpiece could be more userfriendly

Do you have one of those bags where you can never find a thing? One item you’re unlikely to lose in there is this orange cup, which is sure to brighten your day. It’s a double-walled, vacuum-insulated cup made from food-grade stainless steel and designed to last a lifetime. The Smidge cup promises to keep drinks hot for six hours or cold for up to 12 – and we found it delivers for perfectly toasty coffee even if you forget about it for a couple of hours.

We also put its leakproof claims to the test, and the contents stayed securely inside, even when we gave it a little shake with the cup turned upside down. So we’d be confident about carrying the cup in our bags even if it were half full. Drinking from this cup is through a small opening, the standard type you find on coffee shop cup lids. We found the hinged mouthpiece cover a little tricky to open when we first started testing, but it became easier with each use.

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Things to look for in a reusable coffee cup 

Beyond capacity and looks, consider material. Insulated cups will keep your hot (and cold) drinks, well, hot or cold, for longer. If this isn’t a non-negiotable for you, there are glass cups or flexible designs for when you’re on the move, too. Then, consider whether you’ll need a leak-proof cup. If you want to pop your coffee cup in your bag, this will be a must. Finally, think about the lid. Some cups come with small mouthpieces, while others feature small or wide water bottle-style designs instead. 

How will using a reusable cup benefit the environment?

The idea of a reusable coffee cup is to use it for as long as possible. Take-away coffee cups are typically made of paper but come with a plastic lining to stop drinks from leaking. Trees need to be cut down to make paper, impacting ecosystems and resulting in the loss of trees as carbon sinks. Meanwhile, production also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

The paper and plastic need to be separated which can make it more difficult to recycle the cups in practice. When plastic isn’t recycled it ends up in landfill where it can be left to languish and release microplastics into the environment.

The verdict: Reusable coffee cups

The Circular&Co reusable coffee cup ticks all the boxes in terms of insulation, drinking experience and, importantly, environmental consideration. We love how the UK-made travel cup helps to do away with single-use takeaway coffee cups smartly and creatively with no compromise on functionality and insulation performance.

We also love the freedom of choice you get with the KeepCup design your own and think the S’well traveler is a summer must-have for those iced coffees and picnics in the park.

Elevate your caffeine fix with the best coffee machines, tried and tested

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