Oxo-biodegradable vs PLA compostable plastic cups

Sip thru plastic cups with lids

There’s a lot of confusion and misleading information online about these two items at the moment, we’ve seen many retailers incorrectly describing these items. As a result we thought we’d write a quick post to clear up the differences and set the record straight a bit.

Biodegradable and compostable cups have seen a meteoric rise in popularity since 2018 with the unprecedented shift towards sustainable disposables and biodegradability. The market has responded to the increased demand with a range of new biodegradable items to replace many ranges of traditional disposable products. The problem is that because the items are so new to the market, and still in their infancy in some cases, a lot of the information you’ll find online is either out of date or incorrect.

When the demand for biodegradable items first spiked, the immediate problem was providing a replacement for plastic cups. These are widely used in a huge range of situations and by lots of different consumers. They’re used in the home, commercially at bars, festivals, as a safe replacement for glassware, medically in the NHS etc.

The first attempt at providing a biodegradable alternative was to offer a traditional plastic polymer with an additive which allowed the physical structure of the raw material to break down into pieces, seemingly resulting in the product disappearing as if by magic. Unfortunately, there proved to be a fairly big catch to this type of material. It did indeed break down, but the oil based structure doesn’t disappear as such, it goes through a miniaturization process and breaks down into tiny pieces. These pieces are now commonly referred to as “microplastics”.

This should set off alarm bells fairly quickly due to the amount of negative press coverage of recent times. By breaking down the plastic compound into tiny microscopic pieces it allows the oil based plastics to enter our food stream and our water supply. This will happy as they’re absorbed into fertile earth or washed away through streams into reservoirs. Once they end up in the ocean they’ll be consumed by fish and other creatures, again ending up in our food supply.

More recently, things like plastic pint glasses and water cups have been produced using an alternate bio-plastic based material called PLA. This is a cornstarch based material and can be safely composted without the inherent issues of an oxo-biodegradable plastic product.

If you’re looking to replace plastic glasses with a biodegradable alternative, you should be looking at a compostable cup and checking it’s not described as “oxo-biodegradable” and that it doesn’t mention plastic compounds such as polypropylene or polystyrene. These are products that will end up as microplastics and are widely rumored to be banned in the UK at some point in the near future.

Unfortunately there is a price disparity between oxo-biodegradable and PLA compostable cups, the oxo-biodegradable cups are considerably cheaper due to plastic raw material being much more affordable than cornstarch based PLA. The simple fact of the matter is though that these old oxo-biodegradable items are simply not suitable for customers looking to replace their disposables with eco-friendly compostable / biodegradable plastic cups. Many more ethical suppliers will actually display a warning that accurately describes what they’re selling, but likewise many will simply use the price benefit of an oxo-biodegradable plastic cup as a sales advantage.

Moreover, to be absolutely sure you are purchasing a sustainable bio based product seek out items also marked “Compostable” rather than just “Biodegradable”. The desk I type this from is biodegradable, but it won’t break down in compost as it’s not compostable (to use the compostable term means the item will completely break down inside 12 weeks).

You can find a full range of our (cornstarch based PLA!) biodegradable plastic cups at the following location: https://www.eventsupplies.co.uk/biodegradable/cups/plastic-cups

5oz Small Clear Plastic Drinking Cups

5oz Squat Plastic Drinking Cups
5oz Squat Plastic Drinking Cups

New in today is our new 5oz water cup – designed primarily for use with water coolers and dispensers in the workplace and in Schools.  We’ve introduced this item an alternative to our ever-popular 7oz tall clear non-vending cups, the smaller capacity allows for a reduced cost-per-unit whilst providing a comfortable and convenient means with which to dispense water. A secondary benefit to using a smaller cup is that it dissuades taking the drink away from the immediate dispensing area – the end result is that cups are disposed in the waste receptacle provided rather than left on desks or thrown on the floor.

Customers can purchase this new item in either a single cellophane wrapped sleeve of 100 cups or as a full case of 2,000 where larger quantities are required. Please enquire if you require pallet quantities.

Our clear 5oz cups are made from flexible Polypropylene – designed to flex rather than crack or break to avoid sharp edges or spilled drinks. The rim is semi-rolled for a comfortable drinking experience.

Dimensions are as follows:

  • Height: 72mm
  • Top diameter: 70mm
  • Base Diameter: 43mm

As with all our water cups, these items are fully recyclable with your regular plastic waste.

For more information, please see our Water Cooler Cups category, or go straight to the 5oz Plastic Drinking Cups. You can also find this product on our sister website (Inn Supplies) at: http://innsupplies.com/5oz-squat-clear-plastic-drinking-cups.html

Tall Translucent Water Cooler Cups – Promotional Prices

We’re offering the larger 9oz size of water cooler cups at the discounted rate of £19.50 while stocks last; these are available on a strictly first-come-first-served basis. We have a finite quantity of cases available at this rate, which is by far and away the lowest you’ll find anywhere in the UK (we’ve checked!).

The most common size of water cup is definitely the 7oz size – these are commonplace in Schools, Universities and especially the workplace. The larger 9oz variant is normally used where offices find employees are taking multiple cups / or simply where a larger serving is required. We personally find that Gyms and Health Clubs are the biggest users of this cup size.

This promotional price means that the 9oz clear cups are only £2.00 more expensive per case than the 7oz size, meaning each cup is £0.001 more expensive despite holding nearly 30% more liquid.

We can supply either full cases or pallet quantities of this product, please get in touch through the normal channels for more information.

Link: https://www.eventsupplies.co.uk/plastic-glasses/disposable-plastic-cups/vending-water-cooler-cups

New Premium Squat Water Cooler Cups

We now give customers a choice of either a ‘value’ branded cup or a ‘premium’ squat non-vending cup.

The three main differences between these products are the item weight, the design / rolling of the cup rim and the base material. Our standard ‘value’ grade of squat cup has a weight of 2.5g, a semi-rolled rim and is made from PolyPropylene.  The more expensive ‘premium’ cup is made from thicker Polystyrene plastic (3.3g) and has a full tightly rolled rim.

Choosing the correct cup depends on its intended usage, customers simply looking to purchase an economical non-vend cup with squat proportions would be best served by the value item. This has a lower cost-per-unit and is perfect for high volume catering use. The thicker ‘premium’ cups are best suited to dental use where a tightly rolled rim is important, the thicker plastic also makes them resistant to spillages. Customers looking to use these cups in school water dispenses also tend to choose the ‘premium’ cup with a more tightly rolled rim.

Please see out water cooler cups category for pricing information on these items

Plastic Water Cooler Cups
Plastic Water Cooler Cups

Product Promotion: 8oz “ISAP” Crystal Styrene Plastic Glasses

Although we will be continuing to stock a crystal styrene plastic soft drink glass with an 8oz capacity, a change in manufacturer means that we’re offering the current shape of glass at a promotional price until the stock is depleted. Once we’ve sold our current stock holding this product will revert to full price.

The special offer price of £38.99 applies to customers purchasing full case quantities of 1,000 cups, although you can still purchase smaller sleeves of 50 cups for the regular price of £3.02 per pack.

Crystal styrene offers the highest clarity available for disposable plastic tumblers; this avoids the semi-translucent appearance of some polypropylene items. The 8oz soft drink glasses are completely transparent.

8oz ISAP Glasses
8oz ISAP Glasses – £55.55 per case (1,500) / £3.02 per pack (50)

Crystal styrene rigid plastic glasses

We’ve expanded our range of disposable plastic drinking cups to include a wider range of sizes, we can supply 6, 7, 8 and 10oz sizes – all available in the same hi-clarity crystal clear plastic.

Crystal styrene is the material of choice where a completely translucent cup is desirable over a clouded glass. In particular, this makes for a more professional appearance where cocktails or mixers are served.

The 6oz size is traditionally used for smaller mixers, or for shots of whisky. 7 and 8oz sizes are generally more suited to soft drinks and general beverages, whereas the 10oz/300ml glass is often used for tall drinks or cocktails. Depending on the size, these glasses can also be used with bottled beers and cider – these have a capacity of 284ml.

All 4 sizes are available as either a packed sleeve or full case. There are 50 glasses per sleeve or 40 glasses for the 10oz size. Where larger volumes are required the product can be purchased as a complete case of 1,500, or 1,200 for the 10oz cups.

All crystal styrene plastic glasses are fully recyclable and carry the relevant recycling stamp.

The full range is available from stock.

Crystal Styrene Plastic Cups
Crystal Styrene Plastic Cups

Blue Tinted Plastic Water Cups

In addition to our existing white and translucent water cooler cups, we now stock an aquatic blue 7oz tinted cup.  These cups feature an extra-tightly rolled smooth rim so there are no rough edges, this is especially relevant when the cups may be used by younger children. As such, we recommend this cup for use in schools where they may be used unsupervised with water dispensers.

Blue tint Plastic Water Cups are available in sleeved quantities of 100, or full cases containing 2000 cups (20 sleeves of 100). Pallet quantities are available on request; please contact our sales team for more information.

9oz Tall Translucent Water Cups (Non-Vending)

By popular demand, we are now once again stocking the 9oz tall clear water cooler cups. These high quality PP (Polypropylene) plastic cups are ideally suited to use in cup dispensers alongside office water cooler machines.

In addition to re-launching the 9oz size of water cup, we’ve also been able source the items at a more competitive price. In turn we have passed this saving onto our customers. A full case (2,000) cups previously sold for £38.99, thanks to our purchasing team we’re now able to offer the same product at the everyday low price of £29.99 – representing a huge saving of £9 per case.

For customers who prefer to purchase these products in smaller quantities we’ve also reduced the price of a sealed sleeve (100 cups) from £2.10 to £1.75.

The 9oz water cups are available from stock with immediate effect; pallet quantities are also available on request.

9oz Tall Translucent Non-Vending Plastic Cups
9oz Clear Plastic Cups

Plastic Water Cooler Cups

This month at Event Supplies our translucent and white water cooler cups are available at the promotional price of £17.50 per case of 2,000. Specifically designed for use with office water coolers and cup dispensers, these high quality disposable plastic cups are a cost effective alternative to ceramic cups and glassware in the working environment. Our disposable plastic water cups have also proved to be extremely popular with dentists and related medical use.

If you require a similar cup for use with hot drinks, why not take a look at our range of plastic vending cups?

We have pallet quantities of both products in stock and available for immediate dispatch. If you need any further details on this or any other range simply get in touch with our friendly sales team.

Water Cooler Cups
Disposable Water Cups

Supplies for Public Sector Organisations

We are now able to accept purchase orders from Schools, colleges and other public sector Government organisations and institutions with credit facilities available on request. Once an approved customer account is opened in your name we are able to dispatch orders upon receipt of official purchase orders.

We accept payment for accounts using a variety of methods; you can make a payment using credit/debit card, government procurement card, cheque or BACS payment.

If you would like to open an account with Event Supplies, either email sales@eventsupplies.co.uk or give our team a call on 0844 4995456 for an application form.