“ Brand: Aladdin / Type: Recycled heat insulated tumbler with plastic air tight lid and sip hole. „
When I saw the Sustain Eco Tumbler by Aladdin at John Lewis recently it was an article that I didn't think very much of thanks to its awful "recycling" colour. It reminded me of the awful lime green Formica tea set my parents had when I was little and matching salt and pepper shakers to match! The snot green and dark grey accents do nothing to attract me here on this drinks tumbler and for the full size 16 oz/extra large coffee cup sizing, at best this kind of travel "tumbler" isn't likely to be nicked in the office soon. It's capacity measures similar dimensions to the medium and large cup sizes you can find at many coffee shops. It is also fairly cheap for the asking price given its full size and clean design at £8. Of course the Aladdin Eco Tumbler isn't exactly a flask - but it could be a suitable travel "mug" in which you could easily hand over to your favourite coffee shop in order for your daily pick me up to be filled up into. Later as it sits on an office table awaiting for your consumption, it can be transferred to a microwave for reheating - something that I found my last travel mug wasn't up to the task of doing. That was the thinking behind my decision to buy this product. There is no external handle either but at least the exterior of this recycled plastic container is smooth at the top and has a speckled, grippy texture on its waist and bottom half for the owner to grab onto. It's flush design and similar "coke" bottle wavy shape makes it ideal as a hot or cold drink carrier to just grab and go or just wedged into a cup holder in a car. A screw in grey top completes the product and there's a twist open-close sip hole in which you can sip your desired drink. Sadly it is also in Snot Green to match the perimeter exterior!
There are things in life sometimes that you don't think you need but when you get them they start to make a little more sense. The same thought applies to Aladdin's Sustain Eco-tumbler here because without it, I've been unable to heat up soups in a fast and more frequent way. It's just so much easier to use when there's only one thing to reheat, drink out of and then clean up! No old usual rigmoral of transferring whatever you've heated up your drink in the microwave back into the mug you couldn't put in for fear of it either melting or if there's metal around the perimeter - which most travel mugs have these days - reheating in a microwave is a general no-go area. Then you have two things to clean up afterwards. Or think you're sneaky and get Polystyrene cups instead? Oh I've tried that one, only to find shards of the stuff smashed to bits because they've broken up at the bottom of my bag. Surely there's a better way? Well "Snot Green," just happens to be heat proof up to 150°F and it is freezer proof as well of course being Microwave proof thanks to its food friendly grade Polypropylene plastic. I've only used it for minutes at a time to heat up cold soup and find that the body of the tumbler is merely a little lukewarm after being in the oven. After reheating soup or coffee for example the opening of the actual tumbler without the lid added is touch cool making it simple to drink out of without burning your mouth. With the freezing option I've made soup, transferred it to the Sustain Eco tumbler the night before and simply taken it into work to defrost and then heat up.
Cleaning is very easy thanks to its very wide opening and all plastic grey interior. Being completely ridge free inside means it only takes a sponge or a cleaning brush to get inside before it can be cleaned out. Due to its cylindrical opening it's a bit of a tight squeeze if you have a square or rectangular cleaning brush though. The Sustain Eco tumbler is however dishwasher safe so at least it has better cleaning options here as a drinks tumbler for optimum hygiene.
There are a couple of downsides however. The size of this tumbler due to its 9 " height is one apparent issue you'll need to consider and a pretty large microwave to accommodate this tumbler into when reheating because it fails to fit in compact sized ovens. Also the top lid should be taken out if you are reheating as if you don't you'll get a burning mouth and if the twist dial is opened to reveal the actual mouth of the pourer on the lid itself you may find your nose gets a plastic massage due to it hitting off your nose as you angle the cup into your mouth. The actual rim of the Sustain Eco tumbler is rounded off and easy for lips so in theory you don't really need to put the top lid on unless of course you're consuming bulky liquids or if travelling with the cup straight after you've reheated a drink.
Another issue is the colour. I like saving the Earth wherever I can but I'm not the type to advertise it. John Lewis don't sell any other colour apart from Snot Green whilst Aladdin's U.S website have better colours on offer such as light blue or a burgundy red.
The last downside however is more of a problem with those who will use the Sustain Tumbler thinking it's an airtight flask. Sadly despite the visible rubber line all around the rim of the top lid, when I held the tumbler over the sink with the top lid screwed back in, water seeped out the sip closure despite it being locked in. Sadly it leaks and it leaks pretty badly if the tumbler is reversed upside down even if you hold your finger over the tiny steam hole that allows steam to disperse normally with hot drinks. When I take it home with me, it goes home clean and empty and sits upright in my bag in a space I've made sure it won't fall over but I wouldn't ever trust it if it was full of liquid if it fell over whilst in transit. However, due to its tall shape, it can sit successfully in a car in a cup holder and the drink will not leak if you lock the green sip lip protector over the drink hole. Just don't expect it to be leak free if you turn it upside down though!
If the Sustain Eco wasn't so lurid in it's green "I'm recycled" colour and didn't have a leaky lid, I'd definitely give this product five stars for its convenience and heat proof characteristics. Despite it's lack of air tight sealage for liquids, it is however one of the better tumblers on the market for travelling with drinks thanks to its almost heat proof body and ability to keep liquids hot for up to an hour. It's not a flask and many buyers may be confused by the look of the rubber seals adorning the lid to think so. Certainly for the price here it would be hard to find a tumbler that can keep drinks hot for more than an hour, yet still have easy reheating abilities due to its all plastic construction and being recycled to save the Earth without costing the Earth too, is just a bit of a bonus. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2010.
** Update 2012 **
Despite the lurid colour, I have been using my flask in the mornings, taking it to work in one hand and bag in the other. Keeping it upright ensures hardly any leaks, and it is worthwhile to keep as a hot drink pal on my desk throughout the day. I much prefer the Sustain Eco to a thicker, wider flask that would be more difficult to return home with in my laptop bag and its general design has been able to withstand its fair share of knocks and bruises since purchasing it two years ago.