Returnable cups: the alternatives

Reusable alternatives for coffee to go mugs
Uh Oh reusable alternative items

Reusable cups:
The alternatives

Coffee-to-go cups are talked about by almsot everyone. Feverishly an alternative is wanted for disposable cups. Bamboo cups suddenly appear everywhere. At first glance, this promises a calm conscience towards the environment. But there have been warnings for years. What is it exactly?

The facts - at a glance the reusable cups.

Attention Bamboo mug!

 20-37% bamboo fibers

+ 63% -70% melamine (artificial resin)

does not make a natural product!

Although the so-called "bamboo cups" consist of one part bamboo fibers. In fact they are only between 20% and 37% *. And somehow all the bamboo fibers have to be held together as well. For this one uses plastic. More accurate: synthetic resin. Nothing with nature! But melamine resins and polyactate (in the best case). The problem: melamine resins consist of melamine and formaldehydes. These carcinogenic substances can pass into the beverage at 70 ° C, especially at higher temperatures. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) expressly states at this risk out. **

Apparently, however, these beakers are imported as bamboo products and are therefore not treated under customs law under the "special conditions and detailed procedures for importing melamine plastic kitchenware" from China. Because from there these cups come almost all.

The Health hazard is only one of the problems. Because the cups of melamine or polyactate (can be obtained from corn starch) are, according to dozens of Chinese suppliers under no circumstances dishwasher-safe. At least not more often than about XNUMX times! First experiences of establishments using bamboo cups confirm this.

Bamboo cups contain harmful melanin - coffee to go

A typical example of a so-called "bamboo mug". Also the Stiftung Warentest confirms: bamboo cups release pollutants into the coffee and are not very organic, This is due to melamine resin content and formaldehyde. The plastic is used as a binder for the To-Go bamboo cups.

  • According to Chinese manufacturers only a maximum of 30 times in the dishwasher washable
  • Main ingredient in most cases melamine. Can release formaldehyde from 70 ° C warming
  • mostly unchecked on food
  • can not be scratch-proofed
  • The origin of the raw materials is not always easy to understand, especially with products from the Far East

More information about bamboo cups and release of formaldehyde from melamine dishes and kitchen utensils:
* 1: Source: Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Office (CVUA, Land Baden-Württemberg) -
* 2: Source: Federal Institute for Risk Assessment -
Read also at Wikipedia, what exactly is melamine

PLA (polyactate) - the solution?

Achtug: PLA Polyactate is not the solution for compostable cups

Polyactides (known as polylactic acids) are promised as a new solution for compostable cups. With this plastic, belonging to the group of Polyester , it concerns a synthetic plastic, which is manufactured in a way that it can be, under certain circumstances, be biodegradable. Usually these conditions occur only in special composting plants . "In nature PLA will not decompose in most cases," writes Wikipedia.(1)

For the tested products from PLA, writes the Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Office Stuttgart it turned out, »that these are not suitable for filling with warm and sour foods, such as coffee, fruit tea or fruit compote, since the food contact side is changed after treatment.(2)

PLA plastics are transparent in their basic form. Here also the used coloring materials should be examined.

We find: there are still too few tests and you should not trust simple promises without justification.
By the way: Coffee-to-go cups from PLA are made from fermented corn, which is then polymerized. This More takes cultivable land for food and leads to monocultures. Not really environmentally friendly, we think.

Which alternatives to
Reusable cups are still available?

Stainless steel coffee mug

Stainless steel as an alternative reusable cup suitable for bamboo?

The stainless steel mugs are abig part of the american everyday life. They are often high quality and accordingly high priced. However, dents emerge quickly, after a short time they are not really something pretty to look at. But of course that is a matter of opinion. Their weight is only slightly below the porcelain, and the feeling of drinking with a stainless steel mug is really a matter of taste. It does not matter to some.

  • Many users report a strange drinking experience
  • No modern, colored brand representation possible.
    Printing is not scratch-resistant, it often does not last.
  • Laser engraving fades with time


  • The origin of the raw materials is not always easy to understand, especially with products from the Far East
  • there remains some uncertainty in additives in production (such as BPA or substitutes)
  • short life
  • Printing on plastic is not scratch resistant
  • Many users complain about a kind of plastic taste
  • Check manufacturer and origin exactly!
  • Disposable plastic cups are now legally prohibited across the EU
Plastic coffee mug not suitable as a reusable alternative

Any examples of plastic cups without being judgmental. We do not consider the material suitable for carrying and drinking hot drinks.

The normal plastic cup is cheap and easy, And often looks like that too. Plastic coffee cups fall under at least the "Plastics Regulation VO (EU) No. 10 / 2011", so they are a little better controlled.

Nevertheless there are always surprises lurking. Some years ago, for example, hardly anyone is the potential one Danger from BPA or other additives, today this is a well-known topic. Many people think »what's in there Future towards us?". How do manufacturers operate when the cost pressure is strong?

We think: Better to play it safe! Apart from that, the biggest drawback of the plastic cup is that it all seems a bit like plastic. Also the Lifespan is a problem. In the dishwasher at home, a plastic cup may still be reasonably often washable. Quite different the loading in gastric washing machines as used for deposit systems or in cafés. The high heat puts the cups down properly. Presumably, a plastic cup can not be rinsed more than 50 times. But that depends on its quality.

Plastic cups can also - like stainless steel cups - not permanently and certainly the logo can not be printed on scratch-resistant. Although the techniques have gotten better, but printing inks dissolve by manual stress, sometimes even by using a fingernail!

glass mug

Reusable glass cups as a possible alternative to disposable cups

Glass cups are a good choice from the food technology point of view. Glass has similar advantages to porcelain, but its heat storage capacity is better.

  • tasteless
  • durable
  • Engraving is scratch resistant
  • durable printing possible

Request drinking glass with lid directly>

Coffee-to-go mug
made of porcelain

  • tasteless
  • extremely durable, shockproof
  • from naturally occurring raw materials
  • Engraving is scratch resistant
  • pressure is very durable and scratch-resistant
  • pleasant drinking sensation with the Mahlwerck 2Go lid
  • 100% ecologically & climate-neutral produced
  • 0% health risk!
Reusable coffee to go mug as a good alternative made of porcelain for disposable cups made of plastic

A perfect replacement for disposable cups! Coffee to Go reusable cups are durable and produced by Mahlwerck Porzellan even 100% climate-neutral  More on this >>>

Printed Coffee to Go Reusable Cup

On principle: quality, good taste, longevity.

The market is in turmoil. We wanted to think ahead in several directions and have summarized these considerations here. We tried the whole thing again to illuminate neutral. Even an extension of our product range actually stood for discussion! But because of our principle we do not want to deviate: Quality, good taste, longevity.

That's why we stay with you Coffee2Go made of porcelain as a real alternative!

Environment Federal Office warning

Current study by the Federal Environment Ministry

The way food is Study from the May 2019 from the Federal Environment Ministry is alarming, After that are from the Germans 2,8 billion disposable cups consumed annually, equivalent to 34 cups per capita. Often the cups and lids end up in the environment after a short time because they are thrown away carelessly.

Here you can the Download study from the Federal Environment Ministry.

German environmental aid

Information material for download

You'll find here Current brochures on the topic of coffee-to-go the German environmental aid for download.

German environmental aid reusable cups
Mahlwerck porcelain

Mahlwerck porcelain