Recently it’s been more evident that the constant surge of single use and short shelf-life items that are churned out into the world is frustrating, overwhelming, and seemingly never ending. It can also be hard if you’re new to the world of sustainability, as it’s not always obvious what might be a better choice, a better material, or an easy alternative. Trying to get your head around materials, manufacturing and longevity is a rather large task, after all.
Enter WAKEcup: a sustainable coffee cup, straw and bag manufacturer who began as a response to the billions of single-use coffee cups that end up in landfill around the globe. In an attempt to turn the tide WAKEcup products provide reusable alternatives that look good, perform well and are effortless to use, using sustainable materials like ethically farmed bamboo, stainless steel and double-walled glass. They make understanding alternatives a little easier, as they effortlessly create easy to use products that are designed to last, and are much better than those that end up in the bin after one or two uses.
Made from sustainably sourced organic bamboo, the WAKEcup reusable coffee cup is designed to be able to be used at least 1,000 times (I reckon it’s a lot more if you take care of it properly), which can also save you hundreds of pounds in the long run thanks to the discount many coffee shops now offer when you bring your own cup. They have a double lining of stainless steel to keep drinks hot or cold for hours, and they come with a lid that can be twisted to closed or open positions, to make life and drinking on the go easier than ever.
One of the things I really like about the WAKEcup option is how different it looks to other zero waste coffee tools. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good reusable takeaway cup, but I think the WAKEcup is a brilliantly versatile option. Alongside taking it to your local cafe it works perfectly as a camping mug and is also versatile enough to bring to other events where you’re trying to stay zero waste without standing out too much. Whether you’re heading to an end of summer BBQ or the Christmas markets that will be popping before we know it, it feels far less intimidating to hand over a cup like this to get your pimms or your mulled wine in. Because it comes with a handle it feels a little more socially acceptable and a bit less awkward to ask for it to be filled (we’ve all dealt with those non-environmentally aware vendors who look at you like you’re an actual insane person when you offer your own container), because it looks like a mug so is a seemingly slightly less alien concept. Beyond that it’s also super lightweight which is endlessly convenient when you’re out and about. I’m excited to use this for years to come both for my regular coffee, but for any other events where I might want a drink but don’t want the plastic.
These vegan-friendly bags are actually fascinating! Made from poly paper fibres that are spun and then bonded together, they combine the look of brown paper with the durability and thickness of leather. They’re waterproof, washable, lightweight and long lasting, growing old gracefully as they gain a patina with everyday use in a similar way to leather. They’re also practical, easy to use and surprisingly roomy, and mine have been going strong with some pretty constant use.
The small rucksack provides a perfect lightweight option, without the faff of a shoulder or crossbody bag that can be inconvenient and imbalanced for carrying weight. The larger backpack is a both practical and interesting because of its shape and design, constantly versatile to coordinate with numerous outfits, spacious inside (my laptop just fits!), and incredibly handy. It looks likes a belt buckle type fastening, but actually closes with a press stud, making it super easy when you’re on the go, as well as containing a hidden zip in the side for speedy instant access.
Beyond their products, WAKEcup also send 10% of all profits directly to their environmental charity partners; The Marine Conservation Society and Plastic Oceans. Both charities campaign tirelessly to educate and prevent the devastating effects of single use plastic pollution both for the oceans and the marine wildlife they contain, helping WAKEcup go full circle and tackle the problem both through their alternative products and through larger scale campaigning.
All in all, I’m a big fan of these products and this approach. I’ve been using them most days since they landed in my life, and so far they’re proved themselves to be durable, unique and well designed for their purpose. I’ve also received a bunch of compliments on them, as they do stand out from most people’s usual product choices, and people cannot get over the fact that these bags are made from paper. I think they will be sticking around for many many years to come, and hopefully providing a lot of funding to ocean research, conservation and pushing back on the tide of pointless plastic.
Photos by Teegan Egerton