Is My Reusable Cup Illegal?

Yesterday a cafe refused to serve me coffee in my reusable coffee cup. 

The cafe owner said it was illegal for her to serve me for health and safety reasons. I tried questioning her, but she was so adamant that I started believing her (although I found this hard because I've been using my reusable cups for a long time now). 

I was so annoyed and disappointed. I went straight home and did some checking (thanks to those who sent in information). This is what I found…

In Australia, there is NO LAW saying it is illegal to be served in a reusable coffee mug. If you do get refused, go next door - or if you feel like it, politely let them know that there is nothing in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code that prevents business from accepting a clean reusable coffee cup. If the barista or cafe owner still refuses you it’s because they do not have the right information, or they simply don’t feel like doing something different.

The organisation 1 Million Women did a quick search of the US and UK food safety standards ( and found the same information too. 

So legally we’re all good to go. Don’t feel shy and don’t be intimidated. Proudly take your reusable cup in when you want a take-away coffee, or go and enjoy a sit down coffee in washable ceramic mugs.

This is important. Every year, there are 500 billion disposable cups produced and most of them end up in landfill - that's a million a minute! These paper cups are lined with plastic and cannot be recycled - they’re akin to the styrofoam cups really. 

In addition, it's not illegal to use your own containers for a wide range of things. Thanks Jo for directing me to this articleI  This opens up huge waste reduction possibilities!

I wrote previously about this cup situation here:

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