Paper Cups Explained
Single Poly Coated, Double Poly Coated, Ripple Cups, Double Wall Cups, PLA Cups, Biodegradable Cups, Hot Drink Cups, Triple Layer Cups… I guess it can be a little confusing. Here is some help.
Our paper cups for cold drinks are described as ‘Double Poly Coated’ this means that both the inside and outside of the paper cups have been sprayed with Polyethylene which is used to prevent the liquids seeping into the cups on the inside and condensation seeping in on the outside, this also helps to seal the cup board together.
There is little variation in the design of cold drink paper cups when compared to the many different types of hot drink paper cups. We do however ensure that our cup board is suitably thick so that the cups do not become difficult to handle when filled and where possible offer a squat shaped cup which gives a larger base and consequently a lower centre of gravity (the cups won’t tipple over as easily)
Who’d've guessed so much thought went into them?
Our (single wall) paper cups for hot drinks are described as ‘Single Poly Coated’ this means that only the inside of the paper cups have been sprayed with Polyethylene, unlike Paper Cups for cold drinks the outside is not sprayed as condensation does not form on the cups when hot liquids are inside them. References to single walls or double walls mean the number of layers of paper cup board used to form the cup.
Single Wall paper cups for hot drinks are manufactured from thicker board than paper cups for cold drinks to help prevent fingers and thumbs from being burnt by hot liquids.
Double Wall paper cups have two layers of cup board and a cavity between the walls to insulate the cup. These cups can keep drinks warmer for longer.
Ripple paper cups feature corrugated paper wrapping to increase hand comfort and improve heat insulation, also keeping beverages hotter for longer. Ripple cups are basically paper sleeves (aka Coffee Clutches or Cup Wraps) permanently attached to the outside of a standard hot drink paper cup. Ripple cups therefore have three layers of board, hence the ‘Triple Layer Paper Cup’
PLA Compostable Paper cups are made with a natural biodegradable lining instead of the Polyethylene used in conventional paper cups. The PLA (Polylactic acid) lining will compost together with the paper cup.
Conventional paper cups will not do this as the oil based lining is not biodegradable.
We do not sell PLA lined paper cups as whilst we share the sentiments of those who wish to ‘go green’ with their disposables there are few places in current recycling channels for these products to go other than landfill where they will not biodegrade.
The options one has for recycling are Fibre Recovery schemes run by the likes of Save A Cup who will collect and recycle the cups. They do however set minimum limits for collections and charge for recycling bags, bins, collections and admin the total of which can easily run into £100′s.
Unless individuals use enough cups to warrant a cup bin of their own (unlikely even for the biggest Coffee fans!) these cups will be treated as any other therefore we consider them pointless to all except those that compost at home and large companies using enough cups to require waste paper cup collections.
95% of normal paper cups can be recycled at present, the 5% that cannot is the lining of the cups.
More of our thoughts and observations about PLA cups can be found here.