Bamboo mug hop or top?

Bamboo mug hop or top?

Great if you already have a reusable coffee-to-go mug. But how good are the bamboo mugs for the environment and our health?

Disposable cups from the coffee shop to enjoy your morning coffee on the way to work or during the break should be taboo for everyone. If you still need reasons against this environmental sin you can find a short list in my article Coffee to go mug. When it comes to reusable cups, bamboo cups are popular because they are light, robust and dishwasher-safe. I actually have such a mug as well, hoping not to drink coffee from plastic. The manufacturers also lure that the cups are sustainable, since they are made from renewable raw materials and, depending on the bamboo content, should even be compostable. Is this correct? I have done some research for you.


The cups would probably not be suitable for the dishwasher if they only consist of organic and therefore compostable raw materials such as bamboo. They almost always contain plastics or resins such as melamine, which serve as binders. According to the German Federal Office for Risk Assessment, tableware made of melamine resin is only harmless to health at temperatures up to 70Β°C. Freshly brewed coffee is much hotter.

What happens if the bioplastic is heated above 70Β°C?

The plastic melamine resin releases its building blocks of formaldehyde and melamine to food under certain conditions such as heat or exposure to acid. Stiftung Warentest proves this. In July 2019, they tested twelve different bamboo cups and more than half of the cups detached contaminants and could be detected in the drink. The values ​​were above the EU limit. Drinking this can have many consequences. Melamine is suspected of causing diseases in the bladder and kidney systems. Formaldehyde can irritate the skin, respiratory tract or eyes, and can cause cancer in the nose and throat when inhaled. The Stiftung Warentest also complains of misleading labels such as incorrect promises of degradability, incorrect contents or missing warnings. In response to the test, the German Federal Consumer Protection Association demands to ban bamboo cups with plastic.

Earlier tests such as that of the Senate Department for Consumer Protection in Berlin also examined a total of 37 bamboo tableware samples in 2018 and 2019. All exceeded the formaldehyde limit and one also exceeded the limit for melamine. Dozens of online shops have since been warned about misleading advertising for mugs and other bamboo dishes.


Most of the bamboo cups are not only a problem for the environment due to the binders used, if the cup ends up in the garbage at some point, but are also harmful to your own health during use. Here I have put together which cups are safe or made of other harmless materials, such as glass or stainless steel.
Maybe a good gift idea for Christmas;)


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