We use paper cups for just about everything. Their versatility allows them to meet the demands of nearly anything we throw at them, from hectic schedule rushes for coffee to midnight cravings for steaming, hot soup during finals from a local Pho restaurant, where bowls are too much of a hassle. But we never seem to consider how much we take this mundane, yet extraordinary item for granted. From cheap coffee mugs to paper to go coffee cups, cups power us through our day to the fuel it gives us to survive strenuous study sessions—they are revolutionary. At an initial glance, it seems a silly thing to celebrate but imagining our lives without them puts their importance into a broader perspective.
Why Do We Rely On Paper Cups?
Paper cups are the best friend to everyone’s favorite caffeinated beverage, coffee. Coffee is considered by most to be a necessity, visiting a coffee shop a minimum three times per day for a refill or purchase another cup for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, usually using paper to go coffee cups. According to statistics, nearly 30% of the population considers themselves occasional coffee drinkers, consuming 1.64 cups of coffee per day with the average size of a coffee cup roughly around 9 ounce; independent coffee shops make nearly $12 billion in annual sales. Paper to go coffee cups is typically designed with three things in mind: affordability, re-usability, and aesthetic, small paper cups with lids embody just that. The use of small paper cups with lids and paper to go coffee cups is a widely popular design for coffee shops, because of the durability and handiness it provides customers while staying within a company’s budget. The quality of the paper to go coffee cups varies considerably, depending on the type of coffee served. Usually, regular coffees are given the paper to coffee cups with lids or white disposable coffee cups, but specialty coffees consist of approximately 37% of U.S coffee cups being considered the highest quality in the world. However, the use of paper cups with lids is extremely popular with foods, such as hot soups that can be made into makeshift soup containers for an easy, portable lunch or ice cream for a cold treat on a sweltering day.
Why Use Paper over Plastic Cups?
Unlike paper cups, plastic is not as readily versatile in its uses. Plastic is not meant to endure high-temperatures and will melt when exposed to high levels of heat, rendering its uses limited because of its reactive properties. Paper cups have a variety of purposes, because of the material, it is made from, making it easy to absorb heat and safely handle hot items by workers and customers, alike. Recycling is also the main factor; disposable paper cups are easily biodegradable with no harmful effects because they are made from recycled materials, allowing consumers environmental consciousness and convenience bundled into one small disposable cup. During your next coffee run or in-between lunch classes, remember to give some thanks to small paper cups with lids, they deserve it.
What Are The Pros And Cons of Paper Cups?
When factoring the benefits of using paper or plastic cups, it’s important to think about their overall effects on the environment. Although both choices are considered somewhat detrimental to Earth over a given period of time, there is still a significant list of pros and cons that determine which type of cups is better.
1. The benefits of paper cups: Like plastic cups, paper cups can be recycled and are made from recycled materials. If everyone consistently used recycling, the benefits of paper cups would greatly benefit our environment in its next life.
2. The negatives of paper cups: Although most people intend to recycle cups properly, the likelihood of them doing so is rare. Most paper cups will end up in the landfill after the first use, and they have a limited ability to be recycled after initial use. Paper cups have a plastic lining that retains the liquids placed in them, so they won’t soak though—very few recycling facilities use this type of recycling process which requires separating and breaking down paper and plastic.