The Best Material for a Reusable Coffee Cup – Why We Use Stainless Steel

The Best Material for a Reusable Coffee Cup – Why We Use Stainless Steel

Fed up with using disposable coffee cups? Searching for a reusable option that's kind to the planet and your health? Not sure which material is best for a reusable coffee cup? Read on to find out why we only use the best material for the job – stainless steel! 

The reuse revolution

The interest for sustainable coffee cups is increasing as more of us search for ways to protect the planet while still enjoying our caffeine fix on-the-go. Not only are they great ways to eliminate avoidable single use waste, they can reduce our carbon footprint, help us save money and given the right choice can stop any harmful chemicals leaching into our cup of coffee.

Time to say goodbye to single use

Reports suggest that the UK is using as many as 5,000,000,000 single use coffee cups every year. According to the Life Cycle Initiative (hosted by UNEP) there are more than 500,000,000,000 single use coffee cups used globally every year. Single use coffee cups are incredibly difficult to recycle correctly, leading to 99.75% of single use cups in the UK going to landfill or incinerators. Yup – only 0.25% of single use coffee cups are recycled in the UK. Shocking, right?  A simple swap to a reusable cup can help reduce your climate impact by 69%.

There is also the risk of chemical leaching to consider when we look at different material choices for our coffee cup. Do they contain BPA? (not a problem just for water bottles – this affects your coffee cup choice too) If not, what have they replaced the BPA with? Is your coffee becoming a microplastics soup by simply being in a plastic or plastic lined cup?

Why stainless steel is the ideal choice for reusable coffee cups

Stainless steel is an iron based alloyed metal. 18/8 stainless steel, which is commonly used for travel cups and water bottles has 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The chromium gives it it’s “stainless” quality while the nickel improves strength and durability and helps resist corrosion.

Stainless steel is tough and durable. A stainless steel coffee cup should last for years. Stainless steel is also endlessly recyclable and easily recycled – an important quality for a truly eco-friendly coffee cup.  Quite different to flimsy single use cups that are rarely recycled or plastic reusable cups that can only be recycled a couple of times before becoming waste themselves.

An average single use coffee cup has a carbon footprint of about 0.060kg of CO2. We can compare that with a stainless steel Ohelo travel cup, which has a carbon footprint of 1.18kg of CO2 – this is the same as 20 single use coffee cups. Simply put, after 20 uses of an Ohelo travel mug you are lowering your carbon footprint.

Black Ohelo stainless steel reusable coffee cup on a beach with hand reaching to grab it


18/8 stainless steel will not make your coffee taste funny and does not leach chemicals into your tea.

Looking for the perfect BPA-free coffee cup? BPA is a chemical compound found in plastics that has hormone mimicking properties. Small amounts of BPA can leach from plastic cups into the drinks inside, potentially causing health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and liver toxicity, according to scientific studies. Single use cups with plastic linings, bamboo cups, and reusable cups made from recycled plastics may be leaching harmful chemicals into your coffee – even if they are BPA free – what have they used to replace the BPA? As other Bisphenols have been shown to exhibit the same hormone mimicking properties as BPA – not what you want.

Stainless steel will not release microplastics from its surface into your brew.

Sadly, choosing plastic reusable cups, bamboo cups (melamine resins (plastics) are used to hold bamboo fibres together) or single use coffee cups (which have plastic internal liners) for your coffee on-the-go can mean you end up drinking a microplastics soup, as heat can result in high plastic migration from the surfaces. Yuck!

18/8 stainless steel resists bacterial growth. All our Ohelo coffee cups have electropolished interiors, which not only help make them more resistant to bacteria but also super easy to clean.

Ohelo black stainless steel cooff mug in hand of stylish man


Reusable cups made from plastics, whether that is recycled plastics or bamboo cups with plastic resins, can get really stinky. Ever wondered why that is? It is due to the plastic itself. Plastics are made up of long chains of atoms, like a string of pearls, that are stacked on top of each other. This can mean smaller, smelly particles can get absorbed – leading to staining, smell and flavour retention – yuck! Luckily there is no such problem with stainless steel coffee cups!

Looking for the best reusable coffee cup for hot drinks? Insulated stainless steel coffee cups are the perfect choice – with vacuum insulation keeping your coffee hot for ages. Which is a great improvement to lukewarm lattes!

Steel is also sleek and stylish. It gives you a classic, timeless aesthetic for your on-the-go drink, making it the perfect option to take you from home to office to picnics in the park.

Ohelo Blue swallows coffee cup in hand of business woman


Here at Ohelo we use stainless steel to make our sustainable travel mugs. Sustainability is at the core of everything we do as a family run brand. From sustainable and ethical manufacturing practices to safer materials choices for our cups, to using durable stainless steel to ensure your cups last for longer. Ohelo is proud to be one of the only lead free insulated steel cup brands in the world, making our travel cups safer for you, our makers and the planet. With 100% leakproof lids and being fully dishwasher safe our Ohelo tumblers are the best travel coffee mugs. And with 5% profits going to charitable organisations, you can help us save the planet with every single sip.

Invest in your coffee and the planet

By making the change to a reusable stainless steel coffee cup you will not only take a step to a more sustainable lifestyle but make sipping your coffee a more enjoyable experience. Ready to make the change? Check out our full range of Ohelo stainless steel coffee cups – with colours and designs perfect for every taste, our dishwasher safe travel cups are the best way to enjoy coffee on-the-go.


Ohelo white stainless steel coffee cup


FAQs about Ohelo stainless steel coffee cups

1. Are Ohelo coffee cups dishwasher safe? Yes, our Ohelo tumblers are all dishwasher safe.
2. Can I use my Ohelo stainless steel coffee cup for drinks other than coffee? Absolutely. Our Ohelo tumbler has a detachable strainer that may be used with loose leaf tea, fruit infusions or protein shake. You can even use it to carry your G&T or shake another home made cocktail.
3. Does the Ohelo reusable coffee cup fit in car cupholders? This is a super common question we get asked. Our travel cups have a tapered shape which allows them to fit into almost all car cupholders. The only car that we have heard of them not fitting into is the fiat 500 (which seems to have bizarrely small car cupholders).

Helpful Ohelo travel cup measurements to allow you to check your own car cupholder:
The very base of our travel cup is approximately 50mm diameter.
5cm above the base of the Tumbler, the travel mug diameter is 76mm.
At its widest point our tumblers' diameter is 83mm. 

Similar posts:
1. How many single use coffee cups are used in the UK every year?
2. Is your coffee cup recyclable?
3. Why single use coffee cups aren't widely recycled
4. Understanding BPA free water bottles: what is used instead of BPA and is it safe?

News and insights from the Ohelo HQ