Paper cups are not sustainable & can’t be a product of the green future

Paper cups are thought to biodegrade, but in reality they are not. Know here why is the case.
paper cups are harmful

Are you sipping your beverage in a paper cup, thinking you are not harming the environment? Then you probably need to realise that paper cups are not sustainable. They cannot be composted or degraded naturally. Remember, a paper cup will last as long as a plastic cup in nature, unless it ends up at a designated recycling facility.

Why paper cups are not sustainable?

60 billion paper cups are thrown away each year in the U.S. Though paper cups only comprise 20% of total cup production, they’re still way more harmful than single-use plastic cups.

Paper cups have an exterior of corrugated paper, but internally they’re lined with plastic, majorly HDPE. And to recycle a paper cup, these two layers need to be separated, which is not possible for a local recycling depot.

What it takes to recycle a paper cup?

  1. Cups should not be soiled. Any type of oil, liquid or other product can spoil the whole batch of recycling paper. As a result, soiled paper cups are not recycled.
  2. The plastic and paper layers need to be separated before recycling. This requires special machinery, which is usually not available at recycling facilities.

How much harmful are paper cups?

  1. 5 billion single-use cups end up in landfills every year. These cups are non-biodegradable and release methane, which is a more harmful gas than CO2.
  2. A study revealed that exposure to hot liquid for 15 minutes makes plastic-coated disposable paper cups release tiny plastic particles, harmful ions, and heavy metals into liquid. Sipping beverages from paper cups can cause the consumption of these contaminants.
  3. The plastic layer is about 5% of the total cup only. But it breaks down into microplastics. These microplastics are difficult to filter out and enter the food chain.

How to deal with paper cups?

No wonder, why did we move out of kulhad or steel cups? Coffee or tea served in them tastes exactly the same, but hygiene issues prevail. Here you can know the eco-friendly alternatives to paper cups like a reusable cup, biodegradable tableware, or can you can also choose to carry your own flask.

Paper cups are not sustainable, and for an eco-conscious living, you need to be aware of all products that might seem to be recyclable but are not. A careful step towards sustainable living can change the future of this planet.


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