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Travel Mugs, Sustainability, and Being Cheap.

Recently, I’ve recommended the travel mug I’m using to someone else. Again. Then I started wondering since when I’ve been lugging mine around… and today I’ve finally looked it up.

The battered trusty mug. 

I bought this mug back in fall of 2012, when it was much more shiny and only available in this one single colour, at least at the place I bought it. I wasn’t too excited about the brown, but really excited about the promises that came in the description: stainless steel (so very sturdy), large capacity, completely leakproof, and holding beverages hot for a really long time. Especially the completely leakproof was something I had been looking for.

It cost me 45 Euro back then, and I did think hard about whether I wanted to spend so much money on a travel mug – but then, the plastic to-go mugs I had before hadn’t been leakproof, and they had given up rather quickly, and they had a theoretical insulation (being double-walled) which was not very good.

So I did buy it. And I used it a lot – when travelling, of course, but also at home when I wanted a large coffee that would keep hot for a long time. The lid gave out in 2015; I got a replacement lid with very little hassle and for about 8 Euro from the German main distributor.

I’ve been totally happy with this thing ever since I got it. The lid can be a little finicky to clean if you’re having milky beverages, but rinsing it out as soon as possible, using a brush or a toothbrush to get into the crevices, and occasionally taking it apart and bathing it in hot water with soda added will keep it nice and eliminate all traces of sour-milk odour, should the dire thing have happened. I’ll usually fill it with coffee at home when I am travelling to have it on the road, and when I need a second one (or when I’m not starting from home), it doesn’t only eliminate the need for a disposable cup, it also keeps my drink hot for long times. Since I tend to stretch out my coffee-drinking, that counts as a rather large bonus. (Downside: if you fill it with boiling hot water, it will take forever for it to cool down enough to drink. Brewing tea in there means keeping the lid off for a while, until cool enough to sip, or else you will have to wait for about 6 hours before drinking…)

When we were in London, I was even happier about the mug than usual, as there were some coffee shops that only had disposable cups, even for the people sitting down in the shop. So out came the mug… which, usually, also meant a discount on the price of the tea or coffee. And I did mention it’s rather large, right? Which means that in most cases, you’re getting a little more hot beverage of your choice for about the same price. Even without that bonus, though, we then did the maths… and realised that getting a pricey thermos mug, if you use it regularly, will amortise itself really quickly.

My mug has cost me 45 €. Say you’re getting an average discount of 0.20 € per cup of hot beverage. That’s exactly 225 hot drinks – a year has about 250 work days, so if you get a cup of something every day you are going to work, this mug has paid for itself in one year. And that’s without taking the bit of extra filling into account.

Soon now, my coffee-holding travel companion could celebrate its seventh workbirthday*, and while I’m not using it every single work day, it has long since gone past the 225 hot drinks. It also has seen a lot of different countries, sat inside my car with me for hours and hours, was dropped onto hard floors (hence it can wobble a little now when it’s standing), and also has seen the wrong level in a dishwasher (it’s okay in the upper level, but the lower one is too hot – which is the reason a lot of the colour has peeled off). I love it, even though it looks battered and not too fancy anymore… and I’m pretty sure there are a lot of coffees and teas in its future still.

Thus, the moral of the story – if you think about getting a travel mug, go ahead and get a good one. Even if it sounds ridiculously expensive at first, it will pay for itself rather quickly!


*Probably by having coffee!

This entry was posted in green living, things that I don't want to be without, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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