KeepCup Lets You Kick Your Disposable Cups, but Keep Your Coffee

We all get cash guilt adding up our monthly coffee spending habits, but how often do we cut down on this creative fuel because of the environmental impact all the takeaway lattes are having? That’s no problem nowadays, thanks largely to the work of KeepCup, creators of the world’s first barista standard re-usable beverage cup. Their sturdy coffee cups caused a revolution in consumer habits towards convenience culture, one in sore need of shaking up given the vast amounts of disposable cups ending up in landfill.

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The re-usable containers, made from durable glass and recyclable plastic, come in a vast and playful array of colours and styles, from sleek monochrome to limited edition Star Wars and Sea Shepherd models. KeepCup Managing Director and CEO Abigail Forsyth kicked off the company back in 2008, wanting to provide a commuter cup for her café chain Bluebag that, unlike other models on the market, could be used in barista machines and was attractively designed.

Usability and aesthetics were the features KeepCup gambled on as their USP, and nearly a decade later it’s a bet that has paid off, with offices worldwide in Melbourne, London, and LA, and products sold in over 65 countries around the world.

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“I still get a huge buzz when I see someone walking down the street with a KeepCup in their hand,” Abigail tells us. With more than 5 million KeepCup converts helping to keep over 3.5 billion disposable cups out of landfills, that’s a kind of coffee buzz that won’t leave you crashing in a hour.

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KeepCup’s dream is to lift cafes’ cup re-use rates to 40% in their takeaway sales, and the release of a new set of colours early next year is adding to the already incredibly diverse range of models and materials that’s helping them to get there. In addition, their Design Your Own range lets you pick’n’mix your own custom colour combinations. The tempered soda lime glass that is used in the KeepCup Brew is durable and able to withstand dramatic changes in temperature.

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KeepCup Brew

KeepCup LongPlay adds a Tritan BPA-free plastic ‘booster’ to the classic KeepCup Brew glass, creating a double wall of insulation that makes it both more comfortable to hold and more effective at insulating the content’s temperature (be that a hot coffee or a cold frappé). The KeepCup Brew Cork edition replaces the coloured band with one of attractive and naturally antibacterial cork from Portugal, a biodegradable by-product of the wine industry.

Longplay Chai
Longplay Chai

If you love your coffee, and love your design, reusable attractive cups like these seem a no-brainer. And switching to re-usables will also bring a warm and fuzzy feeling that has nothing to do with that milky flat white. In the words of Abigail:

“It might seem like a small change, but it’s a good place to start.”  

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KeepCup and its founder Abigail Forsyth


THE PLUS: What kind of influence do you want KeepCup to have?
Abigail Forsyth:
For me, KeepCup is a solution to the problem of our single-use, throwaway convenience culture. It’s not about influencing people’s lives, it’s about enabling people to make small changes that help them live more sustainably day-to-day.

Long Play Cabernet
LongPlay Cabernet

TP: KeepCup works hard to keep its process responsible – how is this?
AF:
Ensuring this part of the process worked efficiently was crucial to me. We use local suppliers and manufacturers wherever possible, and assemble our products on site at our warehouses in Melbourne, London and LA. As demand for our products has grown in Europe, we’ve started working with manufacturers in the UK, too.

Longplay Fennel
LongPlay Fennel

TP: What is special about LongPlay?
AF:
The LongPlay came about mostly through demand from our UK and US customers. People drink more tea and filter coffee in those regions, but a 16oz glass KeepCup has a large surface area which increases the risk of people burning their hands. Our customers in the US and UK also live in much cooler climates than our Australian customers – when you have a hot drink in a glass cup in a cold climate, you risk cracking and damaging the glass. We decided to create a twin-walled KeepCup which would provide a solution.

Brew Cork Limited Edition
Brew cork Limited Edition

TP: The cork band on the Brew Limited Edition is an interesting touch – what do you like about it?
AF:
Over time, it begins to tell the story of your use – think of well-trodden stone steps, or the shine on the handle of a brass door knocker. It becomes unique to you.

Star Wars Edition
Star Wars Edition

TP: You’ve played a lot with a classic design – what’s been most fun about this?
AF:
We’ve recently launched our Star Wars range with Disney, featuring familiar faces from the Empire such as R2D2, Darth Vader and Chewbacca. It was such a fun project to work on, and we’re really happy with the result.

Sea Sheperd Edition

TP: How do you think global sustainability is going to develop in the future?
AF:
I think we’re beginning to wake up to the global waste crisis and the individual responsibility we all have to challenge convenience culture. It’s heartening to see so many people making more conscious choices to reduce the amount of waste they produce.

Some people might say that it’s a drop in the ocean, but it’s all about perspective. It equates to keeping 4,000 tonnes of waste from ending up in landfill sites, saving enough energy to power 5,000 homes for a whole year, and ensuring that 50,000 trees remain standing in a rainforest somewhere in the world. I think that’s a lovely thought.

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Click here, to find more about KeepCup.

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