Reusable coffee cups banned as health hazard

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Adelaide petrol station chain ‘On the Run’ aka OTR may have been the first to act but were certainly not the first to recognise the one issue of using reusable coffee cups, they are actually a major health hazard to all customers.

We’re seeing reusable coffee cups being presented for a refill that are dirty, unwashed, stained and sometimes containing contaminants. Apart from this, we don’t really know where that cup has been sitting and we’re supposed to introduce that into a commercial kitchen environment where thousands of others are served every day.

Despite environmental campaigner Jon Dee from the DoSomething Foundation saying the move was ‘surprising’ and SA Health saying that ‘OTR’s claim that they are doing this for food safety reasons does not stack up.’ the choice by ‘On the Run’ to ban reusable coffee cups makes sense and shows due care for the customer and the quality of their products.

The sudden appearance of reusable coffee cups seems largely like it was not thought through well enough.

I know if I was presented with a filthy reusable coffee cup by a customer, I would feel pretty compelled to wash it for them. However, most cafes and service stations serving coffee are simply not geared towards the efficient washing and cleaning of reusable coffee cups before use.

If you are going to embrace the reusable coffee cup you can’t half arse it, you need to be able to deal with situations where cups need to be cleaned. We know what humanity is like, we’ve been living with each other for long enough.

We know that most coffee cups sit on a person’s desk at work for almost 1 week before being taken to be cleaned, and it’s not good enough to just tip out the leftover coffee and refill. It’s this type of thing that can make a person very sick.

What needs to happen going forward is that people present their reusable coffee cup, it goes into the queue for high-temperature washing, when the coffee cup is ready, it’s filled and ready to go. Of course, any discount that is currently been given to people for using a reusable coffee cup should no longer apply as this needs to be used towards washing the reusable coffee cup.

Who knew that cafes and service station were getting into the cleaning business. After all the only reason people pay $5 for a cup of coffee is the convenience and it seems quite convenient to have your reusable coffee cup cleaned at the same time.

OTR has over 100 stores across South Australia, the majority offering petrol and convenience stores. Website:

Related: How dirty your office coffee cup is and how to clean it

Author’s Bio
Chet Carter is an Professional Journalist of 25 years, but has worked with a range of businesses giving him in-depth understanding of many different industries.


I'm a product researcher at Product Reviewer. I help fellow Aussie consumers make better buying decisions.

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