Skip to main content

Tag: climate

10 Examples That Show What a Difference Small Changes Can Make

10 Examples That Show What a Difference Small Changes Can Make.

We Can All Be Difference Makers

The 10 examples below really bring it home; we can all make a significant difference in this world. Even through simple changes like embracing a circular product over a disposable one.

The circular product in question? That would be our Circular Reusable Coffee Cup.

We’ve designed this cup to help you make the biggest difference with the littlest effort. Each circular cup we produce:

  • Is made out of 6 discarded single-use cups.
  • Is designed for 10 years of use.
  • Can be 100% recycled into a new circular cup 6 times. (Meaning 60 years of total use per cup)
  • Can be mixed with fresh recycled material after this initial 60 years to make even more reusable cups.

Simply by picking up your daily dose of the hot stuff in our cup instead of a single-life product, you can reduce your carbon footprint, limit pollution, and consume less raw materials.

2 million people have already made the switch in the 4 years we’ve been selling our circular cup. Which means roughly 12 million disposable cups have been diverted from landfill, incineration, or polluting the planet already!

And that’s only counting the discarded cups we used to make our reusables. Really, the positive impact is much higher. We hope the examples below will convince you to join us in expanding this positive impact even further.

10 Examples of (Potential) Impact

The truth is, one person can make a difference. So when we get the people around us involved, that difference can become very significant indeed. Just look at all the weird and wonderful things we can achieve.

*See below to learn about how these examples were calculated.

1. One Whole Year Being a Fully Grown Tree

Lone deciduous tree in green field with blue sky behind.

Ever wanted to become a fully grown tree for a year? (Yeah, us too!)

Well, maybe you can do just that! All you’ve got to do is get yourself one of our circular cups, and use it for the full 10 years it’s designed to last. Instead of using disposable cups of course.

Based on UK averages, this would reduce your carbon footprint by about 21.12kg. Which is roughly the same amount of CO2 a mature tree removes from the atmosphere each year.

2. Four Basketballs Worth of Pollution

NBA basketball sitting in pile of autumn leaves.

Reducing your emissions isn’t the only reason to make the switch to circular coffee cups.

If a family of 5 in the UK decided to make the switch for just a single year, they would prevent 2.5kg of disposable coffee cups from ending up as rubbish. This is slightly more than the combined weight of 4 NBA basketballs. (Not sure if you’ve ever played basketball, but those balls are pretty heavy!)

3. Five Large Beer Kegs Full of Disposable Cups

Metal beer kegs packed together tightly.

If you somehow managed to convince the starting 11 of your local football team to ditch disposable cups in favour of circular ones, in just one year, they’d be able to fill over 5 large beer kegs with all the disposable cups they’d avoided.

Surely they’d deserve some sort of trophy for that? (As long as it’s designed for circularity of course!)

4. Land’s End to John O’ Groats Over 14.5 Times!

Road sign at John' O Groats pointing to Land's End and New York.

The examples so far have been somewhat impressive, but it’s when we start getting the whole community involved that we really start seeing results.

Let’s imagine you manage to convince 2000 people in your local community to make the switch to the Circular Reusable Coffee Cup or Travel Cup. In just one year, this would reduce their carbon footprint by a collective 3,360kg. This is roughly the same amount of CO2 you’d emit by driving a medium-sized diesel car from Land’s End to John O’ Groats over 14.5 times!

For anyone who might not know, that means driving from the very bottom of England, to the most northerly point of Scotland.

5. Nearly Two and a Half Giant Panda’s Weight in Rubbish

Close up of Giant Panda eating bamboo in the jungle.

You might not believe it, but when it comes to having a positive collective impact on the environment, even the politicians can get involved!

If all 650 MPs in the House of Commons were to make the circular switch for just a year, they could prevent 325kg worth of disposable coffee cups from becoming rubbish. This is nearly equivalent to what 2 and a half fully-grown male Giant Pandas weigh.

6. Two and a Half Olympic Swimming Pools Full of Disposable Cups

Side view of swimmers competing in an olympic swimming pool.

The UK is a busy place. Lots of people coming, lots of people going.

But if the people who pass through Heathrow airport on just a single average day all switched to circular coffee cups or travel mugs for a year, over 2 and a half Olympic swimming pools full of disposable cups could be saved. That’s roughly 6,078 cubic metres of disposable coffee cups!

7. Eight Fully Grown Humpback Whales of Pollution

A school of four humpback whales poking their heads above the water's surface.

Here at Circular&Co. we’re based in Cornwall in the south of England. It’s a truly beautiful place, but we know it could be more beautiful. If everybody in Cornwall used our Circular Reusable Coffee Cup instead of disposables for a year, it would be!

If that happened, 282,984kg of coffee cup-shaped pollution would be avoided. Now that is a whole lot of disposable coffee cups considering their weight.

It’s also nearly equivalent to the average weight of 8 fully grown humpback whales. As we’re based by the sea, we can’t tell you how much it would mean to us to remove that much pollution from the ocean. 

8. Over 152,000 Fully Grown Trees Worth of Clean Air

Coniferous forest in Autumn with clouds above.

As we mentioned before, since we started selling the Circular Reusable Coffee Cup 4 years ago, we have sold over 2 million cups. Preventing about 12 million disposable cups from ending up in the landfill, incineration, or as pollution.

And if the 2 million wonderful folks who bought our cups have used them instead of disposables for just 1 year, it means about 3,360,000kg of carbon emissions have been avoided. This is about the same amount of CO2 that 152,727 fully grown trees would remove from the atmosphere in a year.

Safe to say, we are very proud of these numbers so far. But you can help us make them even better!

9. 850,000,000 Lightbulbs

Dark room full of illuminated hanging lightbulbs.

So we’ve seen that even one person can have a significant impact over time by making a simple change. And when we get families, communities, and whole counties involved, that impact really does start to make a difference.

But what if we could convince just 1 in 10 people in the UK to make the switch to circular cups? And to use the cups for the full 10 years we’ve designed them to last.

Doesn’t that actually sound feasible? And what would that look like?

Well, if this were to happen, it would prevent 29,630,190kg of disposable coffee cups from ending up as waste. This is roughly equivalent to the weight of 850,000,000 standard 60-watt lightbulbs!

If that doesn’t make a lightbulb go off in your head, we’re not sure what will!

10. 181 Royal Albert Halls Full of Coffee Cups

View of the Royal Albert Hall stage from direct facing balcony.

And what if a lightbulb went off in everyone’s head? What if every single person in the UK switched from disposable cups to our Circular Reusable Coffee Cup? For the full 10 years it’s designed to last?

Amazingly, if people in the UK did decide to ditch disposable cups for 10 years, you could pack 15,738,900 cubic meters full with the cups that would go unused. That’s enough space to fill up the Royal Albert Hall over 181 times!

That is an absolutely humongous pile of disposable coffee cups. And all of these cups will end up in our landfills, oceans, rivers, or incinerated into our atmosphere if we don’t make this kind of change.

It’s such a simple thing to do; join our Circular Mission and use a circular reusable instead of a disposable. And if we all do it, over time, the difference we can make together really is astounding.

How We Calculated These Examples

Here are the stats and figures we used to calculate these examples. If you choose to make the calculations yourself, we’re pretty sure they will add up!:

  • People in the UK get through at least 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups each year. And only 2.8% of these are recycled.
  • This means that, as the UK has an estimated population of about 68.43m people, every single person in the UK on average uses roughly 35.5 — never to be recycled — disposable coffee cups a year. Or roughly, 0.1 coffee cups each day. (This is the figure we used when describing the impact 1, 5, 11 etc people can have by making the switch.)
  • An average disposable coffee cup has a carbon footprint equivalent to up to 60.9 grams of carbon dioxide.
  • Our Circular Reusable Coffee Cup has a carbon footprint of 480 grams.
  • An average 12oz cup weighs 12 grams. (12oz is your standard medium-sized coffee)
  • You can fit roughly 1300 disposable cups into one cubic metre. (We actually tried this before, and when you randomly throw disposable coffee cups into a container that’s exactly one cubic metre in volume, you can fit about 1300 in there.)

Play Your Part in Making a Difference

Designed for 10 years of use and backed by our 2 year guarantee, you can rest assured when purchasing one of our cups. Then after your 10 years of use, we will take your cup back and give the materials their next lease of life. Not to mention we will also give you a 40% discount for playing your part in accelerating the transition to a circular economy! 

Now you have seen the difference we can make by introducing Circular living across the UK, start playing your part today. Start your circular journey with the best sustainable coffee cups and travel mugs.

Reusable Coffee Cups


Reusable Water Bottles


Continue reading

What Are Single-Life Products and Why Are They an Issue?

Single-Life Products and Why Are They becoming an Issue?

Disposable Gets a New Name

We reckon if you can’t turn a product into something new once you’re done with it, or prolong its life if it breaks, it ought to be considered disposable.

If you use a product 1000 times before throwing it in the rubbish, would you consider that product to be disposable?

Most people would probably answer that question with something like: “Disposable? No Way! What the heck are you talking about? That’s clearly a reusable product you’ve got there.”

And that assessment would be fair enough. Because in today’s world, the term ‘disposable’ has become exclusively associated with single-use products. But we think this limited use of the word disposable when describing products is an absolute travesty! We reckon if you can’t turn a product into something new once you’re done with it, or prolong its life if it breaks, it ought to be considered disposable. No matter how many times you initially use it.

But since the term disposable already seems to be taken, we’ve come up with a term of our own. A better term. A fairer term. A term that encompasses all products — both single-use and reusable — that we feel are ultimately disposable.

And that term is: ‘Single-Life Products.’

It might be easier to show you what isn’t a ‘Single-Life Product’, shedding light on products that are truly reusable. Take our Reusable Coffee Cups for example. These are designed for 10 years use, however they are fully recyclable and can be used in our Takeback Scheme. So although it can’t be used forever, it can be recycled and used in another product, never ending up in landfill.

In saying that, we understand that simply coining a term isn’t going to get us very far. So it’s probably best that we elaborate.

What Are Single-Life Products?

Simply put, single-life products are any products that are likely to end up as waste once their initial purpose has been served. So this must mean any product that’s recyclable or repairable doesn’t count as a single-life product, right? Well, not necessarily.

See there are plenty of products out there that can technically be recycled, but for various reasons the recycling process for that product just isn’t practical enough for it to actually happen.

(This can often be the case with products made from multiple materials. Different materials need to be separated before they can be recycled, which of course takes time and effort. If this process isn’t cost-effective, it’s very unlikely the product will be recycled. So even when you throw a technically recyclable product in the recycling bin, it can still end up as waste).

There are also plenty of products out there that are of course repairable, if you’ve got the tools, parts, expertise, or money to do it! (Nearly half of folks in the UK surveyed in 2020 said they’d buy a new tablet or smartphone instead of repairing their current one. Cost and inconvenience of repair were two of the main reasons for this).

Smartphone with screen removed and inner components exposed resting on dark surface.

Many products, including various modern electronic devices, are either too difficult, or too expensive to repair. So a lot of people end up just buying a replacement instead. 

These ‘recyclable’ and ‘repairable’ products that are not practical to recycle or repair are also single-life products. Basically, if you have to really go out of your way to make sure a product doesn’t end up as waste, it is single-life! And that counts for reusables as well as single-use items.

But is this even a big deal? Shouldn’t one life be enough for these products?

Why Are Single-Life Products an Issue?

Every single time a new product is produced, some amount of energy and resources will be used up.

Reusable coffee cups, reusable cups and flasks made from coated stainless steel, most ceramics, drink glasses and many modern electronic devices. These are just some examples of single-life products. But so what? Why does this really matter?

Well, where do we even start?


Maybe it makes sense to start at the start. The beginning of a product’s life where resources and energy are required to actually make the product possible.

Every single time a new product is produced, some amount of energy and resources will be used up. (This is even true for products made from recycled materials, as energy will be needed to mould these recycled materials into new products).

And as resource extraction and processing is one of the main contributors to climate change and biodiversity-loss worldwide, it makes a whole lot of sense to try and limit our use of fresh resources as much as we conceivably can!

This is never going to happen when we still have single-life products, because the resources these products contain are never likely to be used again. What a waste.

That’s why we introduced the Takeback Scheme, to tackle this problem of potentially recyclable products ending up in landfill, extending the life of valuable resources and materials for as long as possible, keeping the circle going.


Factory with red and white stripy chimney emitting smoke next to motorway.

Unfortunately for every new product we produce, it’s very likely there are going to be some emissions involved! 

Of course every time a new product is produced there are also emissions involved. Deadly, dangerous, planet-warming emissions! Each new product needs to be manufactured, packaged, and transported around the world. So wouldn’t it make sense to make sure every product has as many lives as possible?

Global Waste Crisis

Now we get to the part where the product has served its initial purpose. If it’s a single-life product, repairing or recycling it won’t be a practical or cost-effective option. And so, you guessed it, the product inevitably ends up as waste.

And that is a big problem. Possibly bigger than most people even realise.

Globally, we are producing more waste today than ever before, and worldwide waste is expected to nearly double by 2050. Not all of this waste comes from single-life products of course, but some of it does.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

What’s the Solution?

As we’ve seen, single-life products lead to increased resource extraction, pollution, emissions, and waste. Basically, they make this planet a less hospitable place for us to live. And the thing is, no product ever really needs to be single-life!

This is an issue that in some way affects every one of us, and if we want to, we can all be a part of the solution.

Before we ever even get to the production stage, it’s possible to eradicate single-life products by designing for circularity. So products are easy to repair, and practical to recycle.

Then if we can combine circular design with other solutions like extended producer responsibility, legislation to make product repair more accessible, appropriate adjustments to recycling infrastructure, and collaboration between everyone involved, there’s no reason we ever have to produce a single-life product again.

But maybe the first thing you can do to tackle the issue is; share this article with as many folks as possible! Get the word out! Single-life products are not good enough and we all need to come together and do better! Design better, produce better, buy better, collaborate better, demand better!

This is an issue that in some way affects every one of us, and if we want to, we can all be a part of the solution.

For us, the solution has already begun.

This article was created by Adam Millett of Word Chameleon, in collaboration with Circular&Co.

Continue reading