How reusable coffee cups 'increase risk of bacteria'
Reusable coffee cups give rise to a significantly bigger risk of infection - if they aren't washed soon after use, a new study has found.
The research found that coffee cups left unwashed until their next use pose a much greater risk of bacteria than those that are washed immediately after use.
The study, by Aston University, in Birmingham, comes amid plans to bring in a latte levy, which could impose a tax on those using disposable cups when buying takeaway cups of coffee.
Professor Anthony Hilton, of Aston University, said that drink residue left in the cups can create bacteria which multiplies quickly.
"If the cup is refilled without appropriate cleaning, these bacteria can represent a significant source of contamination," he said.
"Consumers should be mindful of reusable-cup hygiene and clean them in the same way they would any other food contact surface."
He added that it can be difficult to clean a cup when washing facilities are not readily available following cup use, "particularly when using the cup while travelling".
Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe said the party encourages people to use reusable cups when they are purchasing takeaway coffee.
Mr Cuffe said that he thinks "it would be a bit silly not to" wash the cup directly afterwards.