What You Need To Know About Reusable Bamboo Cups

A blue reuasable bamboo coffee cup standing alont with a light purple background

Reusable bamboo cups might look cute but are they safe?

They come in paper packaging and are marketed as healthy and natural, but that’s not the whole truth.

Reusable bamboo cups might look eco-friendly and attractive but you’re going to see why they are not healthy and are basically just…plastic.

What is bamboo?

Bamboo is a grass that grows freely. Most grow in Asia and the Indian and Pacific regions.

This plant is versatile and good for cooking, to feed livestock, to make paper, and more.

It’s a beautiful and natural material to work with, perfect for anyone looking to reduce the toxicity that comes from the things they use.

But there’s one problem:

Reusable bamboo cups are a mixture of ground bamboo fibers combined with formaldehyde and melamine; a type of plastic.

Plastic is a major contributor to immune suppression and burdens the liver with toxins. It is also an environmental pollutant damaging wildlife across the world each year.

The dangers of formaldehyde

Formaldehyde occurs naturally in the body at very low levels, about 0.03 parts per million. At this level, it doesn’t do the kind of damage that studies show it can.

However, the problem is that most people today are already exposed to dangerously high levels of this toxin and as the chemical is absorbed through the air or the skin it accumulates.

Almost everything around us can off-gas this chemical like personal care products, insulation in buildings, car exhaust, and more. Because of this, I have a problem with the idea that exposure to toxins is ok as long as people aren’t dropping dead.

I disagree.

The human body is a remarkable creation able to withstand a whole host of attacks and while you might not drop dead from an over-accumulation of toxins, your health will definitely be at a disadvantage.

What is melamine?

Another chemical that can leach into drinks from reusable bamboo cups is melamine and it’s not safe. This odourless powder is one of the components of plastic and widely found in reusable dishware.

You can even find this common plastic in medications, dishware, nail polish, and more. Melamine has even been added to infant formula and, as you can imagine, the effects were dire.

Ingesting melamine can damage the kidneys, bladder, and lead to kidney stones.

There’s no doubt that this chemical is toxic and worth avoiding.

Reusable bamboo cups safe are not safe for hot drinks

To make these cups, finely ground bamboo fiber is mixed with plastic glue. As the hot liquids sit in the cup, the lining starts to decompose and leach chemicals into the drink. Pure bamboo should look and feel like wood.

Like this:

This bamboo cup looks like natural wood and is pure bamboo. It will also handle wear and tear and keep warm liquids without leaching toxins into the drink.

Reusable bamboo cups like this:

are not safe for hot drinks.

These are made from bamboo fibers and mixed with melamine resin, a mixture of melamine and formaldehyde.

In 2019, an Independent Consumer Group from Germany published an article showing the results of a test they had done on reusable bamboo cups. In this test, researchers poured 3% acetic acid into 12 cups and kept them at 70 degrees Celcius for two hours.

After that time, 4 of those cups tested high on melamine concentrations, and in 3 others, high amounts of formaldehyde were recorded.

What this means is that at 70 degrees Celcius the lining of the cup starts to decompose leaching chemicals of formaldehyde and melamine into the liquid. Both of these chemicals can cause serious health problems.

These cups harm the environment and don’t degrade naturally or industrially.

Best natural bamboo cups for the whole family

Anything made of bamboo fibers with melamine resin is not safe. So when looking for natural non-toxic bamboo material, look for pure bamboo or bamboo and other natural materials like glass or stainless steel.

These are my top pics:

Best Bamboo Coffee Mug

This bamboo coffee mug is handcrafted, insulated with stainless steel, and covered with organically grown bamboo. This means that it is natural, non-toxic, and durable and it won’t leach toxins into your coffee.

Best Bamboo Kids and Toddler Cup

This natural bamboo toddler cup can have the lid removed for an older child and is free of pesticides, made from organically grown bamboo. It is also 100% biodegradable and won’t damage the earth.

Summing it up

Bamboo is a natural and eco-friendly material; a perfect alternative to plastic. As a parent who cares about the health of my kids, I look for natural materials that won’t leach toxins into my kids’ food and drink. Pure bamboo dishware, made of sustainably produces and organically farmed bamboo is a great natural option.


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