Plastic cups come in a variety of colours, textures and sizes.
Most plastic cups contain a resin identification code which can be seen by inverting the cup and reading the numerical value printed on the bottom. One should check the adequacy of the cup material for hot drinks, since if it contains bisphenol-A, at 100ºC it gives off 55 times more of this chemical to the liquid, than at 20ºC.
Plastic cups are often used for gatherings where it would be inconvenient to wash dishes afterward, due to factors such as location or number of guests. Plastic cups can be used for storing most liquids, but hot liquids may melt or warp the material.
Production of one metric ton of plastic cup emits 135 pounds of green house gases.
The choice between paper cups and plastic cups resides in the life of the such after use. A paper cup may biodegrade faster than a Styrofoam cup or a plastic cup. In general cardboard or paper takes 1 to 3 months for biodegradation as the majority of the content, up to 95%, is made with wood chips. As for a plastic cup it can take up to 90 years, depending on the type of plastic.
Plastic cups are made with oil, which is not a renewable source, where paper could come from the 20% of this planets forest who fall under sustainable management.
Plastic cups, specially made with Polystyrene are also a possible health hazard as chemicals may leach into the beverage. This is more likely to happen with warm drinks (hot chocolate, tea and coffee) than with cold drinks.
- Coffee cup
- Cup drink
- Cup holder
- Paper cup
- Polylactic acid (used in making decomposable plastic cups)
- Pythagorean cup
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