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A paper cup is a paper, based disposable cup that is often lined or covered with plastic or wax to prevent liquid from leaking or soaking through the paper. It can be made from recycled paper and is widely used worldwide.

Paper cups vs plastic cups.

A life cycle inventory of a paper vs plastic cups analysis reveals all environmental effects without a clear winner. Polyethylene (PE) is a paper cup coating based on petroleum which can slow down the biodegradation cycle of the paper it coats which makes it disposable coffee cups.

Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable bio-plastic coating that is used on certain paper cups. PLA is a renewable resource and is classified as compostable, ensuring that it does not leave any harmful contaminants behind when it biodegrades. Although the only paper cups that can be fully composted are PLA-lined cups, they can contaminate the waste stream, making other recycled plastics unsaleable.

Lids of coffee cups.

A paper coffee cup with a plastic lid and paper cups with “splash stick” may have different types of lids. It is likely that hot drinks served in paper cups come with a plastic lid to keep the drink hot and avoid spillage. These lids have a hole that allows you to sip the drink. The plastic lids can have a lot of features including peel back tabs, raised walls to protect the gourmet hot drinks foam, and embossed text. In 2008, following customer complaints about splashing hot coffee through it, Starbucks launched moulded plastic “splash sticks” to plug the opening in some of their shops of the coffee bags.

As you drink tea or coffee from a paper cup that can be disposed of. All paper cups on their inner surface have a thin coating of wax to prevent them from disintegrating after contact with a liquid. The wax gradually melts and mixes with it when a hot liquid is poured into such a cup.

Plastic cups, as they release polymers into the hot liquid, are said to be more dangerous than paper cups. With pantries, hawkers, public gatherings and private parties, disposable paper cups are popular. The wax melts and mixes with the liquid when hot liquid is poured into these cups. Human acids of the stomach may discard a small amount of wax but are likely to cause a long run problem that’s why it’s better not to drink in such cups until or unless it’s an emergency or you are out of your home.

Compared to plastic coffee cups the making of paper cups requires;

  • About 42 percent less water to make such coffee cups.
  • Approximately 17% less energy needs.
  • Uses 22% less oil to supply materials and ship cups.
  • Do not call for chemicals, such as chlorine dioxide, that can harm water if not properly disposed of.


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