What Are Ecoffee Cups Made From and Are They Safe?

what are ecoffee cups made from

The Ecoffee cup is a reusable, bamboo-based coffee cup. They were created in 2014 to help reduce the single-use, disposable cups that are all too common from coffee shops.

I’m a huge fan of coffee (and the environment too), so any way to enjoy a little cortado, filter coffee or flat white without adding another single use item to landfill, or at best the speciality recyclable pile, is a fantastic step in the right direction.

The Ecoffee Cup website estimates that over three trillion single-use cups have made their way to landfill over the last three decades. A publication by the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee state that at least 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year and just one in 400 cups end up being recycled. That is nothing short of disastrous.

I’m the proud owner of an Ecoffee Cup having bought mine a number of years ago from a local coffee roaster in Manchester called Mancoco.

I use my cup almost every day to take a coffee from home and you’ll be glad to know that it’s still going strong. One of my favourite ethical coffees to put in it is the Cafédirect Machu Picchu organic coffee.

Disclaimer: Just to be transparent, this is not a sponsored post and everything included here is a mixture of factual information, plus my own personal opinion from my own use, which will be made distinct from any facts presented. This post does contain affiliate links to &Keep who are an ethical and eco-friendly seller.

What are Ecoffee cups made from?

The main part of the Ecoffee cup is made from a mixture of bamboo and cornstalk natural fibres, non-GMO corn starch, which is bound together with a plant-based eco-friendly resin derived from aloe and soybean extract.

According to the Ecoffee cup website, both the sustainable bamboo and cornstalk are in plentiful supply and do not require any form of forest farming. The materials that are sourced for the Ecoffee cup are upcycled from waste product that would be otherwise burned by farmers.

Altogether, the latest versions of the Ecoffee cup are now made with more than 97.5% natural materials.

A little further digging lets us know that the bamboo comes from Anji County in the Zhejiang province of China where the forest has been sustainably managed for several hundreds of years. The local government in Anji is very strict about protecting its environment. A fast growing, grass species, bamboo is organic and grown without the need for pesticides or fertilisers. Even better, when bamboo is harvested, it’s only the stem is cut, leaving all the roots in place for the plant to quickly regrow.

There are two other parts to Ecoffee cups: the sleeve and the lid.

my own ecoffee cup in front of some house plants
My trusty cup. Read my Ecoffee Cup review here

Both the grip sleeve that goes around the main cup and lid for the top are made from pure food grade silicone that is latex-free. Although silicone is not biodegradable, it lasts an awful long time, is non-reactive and non-toxic to aquatic and soil organisms and can be recycled (with a little difficulty) at the end of use. If you’re interested in learning more, read this blog on is silicone environmentally friendly?

The Ecoffee cup doesn’t contain any BPA (an industrial chemical often found in plastics and resins) or phthalates, a chemical compound used to make PVC. Neither does it contain any form of petrochemical plastic, meaning less energy is required in the manufacturing process, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint.

Are Ecoffee cups microwavable?

There is a little confusion about this as previous Ecoffee cup editions were not microwave-safe.

However, from July 2019 Ecoffee cups with the microwave symbol underneath the cup are microwavable. If you’re not sure, just have a quick look at the bottom of your cup for the microwave logo and instructions. Please do always check this on your own individual Ecoffee cup.

I bought my Ecoffee cup before July 2019 and it doesn’t have the microwaveable logo underneath – it’s a good job I’ve never tried to microwave it then!

brightly coloured ecoffee cup collection
Buy your Ecoffee cup from ethical seller andkeep.com*

Are Ecoffee cups safe?

Yes, Ecoffee cups are safe to use.

Bamboo kunh, a substance found in bamboo fibre, is antimicrobial. This means the Ecoffee cup has natural antibacterial properties, is hygienic and sterile. The naturalness to the cup also means that there are no taints to the flavour of your hot drink and no weird plastic taste.

This issue some people have with bamboo cups (and other products) is that a lot of bamboo fibre products contain a high percentage of melamine, which is used to bind together the ground up bamboo.

The Ecoffee cup is not one of these products. Independent testing has found the Ecoffee cup to contain less than 3% of melamine. The Ecoffee cup is very much compliant with the EU’s Food Contact Safety Regulations.

So yes, we can safely say that Ecoffee cups are safe to use thanks to their natural antibacterial properties, organic origins and the fact they are free from nasty chemicals such as BPA and phthalates.

Can Ecoffee cups go in the dishwasher?

Yes, the whole Ecoffee cup including the silicone sleeve and lid can go in the dishwasher to be cleaned.

Being dishwasher safe, it’s hopeful your Ecoffee cup will stay in good condition and last a good number of years. I’ve put mine in the dishwasher a few times but tend to handwash it at the sink.  

Is the Ecoffee cup compostable?

For a product to be classed as biodegradable by EU standards, it must disintegrate after 12 weeks and biodegrade after 6 months with 90% or more of the material converted to carbon dioxide.

In order to be a fully reusable, a coffee cup has to have a certain amount of strength to resist a hot drink every day and cleaning. The Ecoffee cup isn’t compostable as it’s currently not possible to create a biodegradable, reusable coffee cup that is strong enough.

Thankfully, the company are very transparent with their claims and they’ve never said the cup is compostable. They don’t even state it is environmentally-friendly in their marketing as this is open to interpretation, but it’s pretty evident they are very environmentally friendly in comparison to the alternative coffee cups.

So, throw away your single use coffee cups for good and get yourself an Ecoffee cup*. Before you do take a read of my Ecoffee cup review here.

Do bear in mind, the Ecoffee cup isn’t a thermos and isn’t insulated to keep your tea or coffee warm for hours on end. However, for the morning commute, journey to the gym or pick me up from a coffee shop, your drink will stay warm for around 40 minutes.

I really like my Ecoffee cup. It’s done the job for me every morning for a couple of years now and I’ve probably saved myself from using many hundreds of single-use takeout cups. My coffee always tastes great and the bamboo cup always feels more natural to me to drink from, which I love.

Buy your Ecoffee cup from sustainable and plastic-free website andkeep.com*.


If you liked that, you might be interested to read…