how to buy a safe cup?

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Coffee has been one of the key elements of our lifestyle and culture. We drink coffee almost anywhere and anytime, whenever we are happy or upset. Actually no matter what beverage we drink , it’s important to buy a safe cup, since the beverage would stay in the cup for a short or long time and eventually enter our body. In addition to being safe to our body, its impact to our environment should also be considered.

The cups in the market can be simply categorized by the material that they are made of: paper cup, glass cup,plastic cup,stainless steel cup, ceramic cup etc. Now let’s start to examine them one by one.

Paper cup

Paper cup is widely used in various places, like coffee shops, office pantries etc. As far as I know, the paper cups in Starbucks are both safe and recyclable. However, the paper cups you get from elsewhere might not be the case.

According to a news report, an engineer working in an IT company found his stomach upset every night and nothing wrong was revealed in regular health check. The further probes revealed that root cause is the disposable paper cups he used to drink coffee in office pantry!

The truth is, paper cups are not 100% made of paper. Instead, some paper cups are coated with a layer of wax, which prevents beverage seeping into the paper. If the beverage is hot, the wax would be partially melted and sent into your stomach along with the beverage. If you do this for a long time, it might become a real problem eventually. Some other paper cups are coated with plastic to make it waterproof. The plastic might not be melted, but you need to make sure it’s BPA-free.

Another problem is, the coated wax and plastic do not only do harm to our body, but also make the paper cups more difficult to recycle.

In conclusion, our suggestion on buying or using paper cups is
1. Do not use wax-coated paper cups to drink hot beverages.
2. Make sure plastic-coated paper cups are BPA-free, otherwise don’t use them
3. Avoid to use paper cups entirely for the sake of environment.

Plastic cups

The major problem of plastic cups is, some of them may be made of plastics with BPA. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics. These days there is lots of public concern about BPA’s health effects to our brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children, and even blood pressure.

A smart buyer should avoid this. The easiest way is to buy the products that are labelled as BPA-free from a trustworthy seller or from recommendations of reliable reviewers.

Glass cups

As you may have noticed, water in glass cups usually tastes better. Glass cups might be the safest option from the perspective of food security since it does not leach any chemicals or toxins. The only problem is, it’s fragile and therefore not suitable to be taken outside.

Stainless steel cups/bottles

Stainless steel cups or bottles are more durable than any other kinds of cups . It’s usually stylish and can keep the water hot or cold for a long time.

However, sometimes the water in stainless steel bottle smells weird. Yes, it’s not as easy to buy a safe stainless steel cup/bottle as you thought.

When you see a bottle titled as stainless steel, it may mean the exterior is made of stainless steel, but the interior might be made of other materials, like plastic, aluminum , aluminum covered with plastic etc. Even if the interior is made of stainless steel as well, the stainless steel might not be 100% food grade. It’s the interior of bottle/cup that touches your beverage. not the exterior. Please always remember this.

Another thing is, the cap of the stainless steel bottle might be made of plastic. If this is the case, at least you have to make sure it’s BPA-free.

Ceramic cup/mug

The major problem of ceramic cup is, some ceramic cups/mugs are glazed with lead. People are likely to be poisoned if they constantly drink beverage with leaded-cups, especially if the beverage is acidic, like coffee, fruit juice etc. Unfortunately, there is no easy way for non-professional consumers to test if their mug is lead-free or not. If you need a ceramic cup/mug for daily drink, it’s critical to choose a lead-free one from a trustworthy seller’s list or reviewer’s recommendation. By the way, the ceramic mugs in Starbucks are safe.

Microwave safe & Dishwasher safe

Not every cup is microwave safe & dishwasher safe and not everyone require this when buying a cup. Sometimes you may compromise when you find a really great but not microwave safe or dishwasher safe cup. Please remember to confirm this before checking out if this is required for you.


After reading this post, if you find the cup you are using are not safe, I would strongly recommend that you throw it away. Your health is much more important than the money you spent on the cup. It’s also a good idea to share this post to the people you care about. If you need a new cup right now, please start shopping with these knowledge you just learned. Enjoy 🙂



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