Paper or plastic? The take over of the paper cup
Biodegradable paper cups provide an excellent packaging alternative and a solution to businesses and the environment. They also help counter the packaging waste crisis. With the safety and usability of these cups, usage will continue to increase. Perhaps even your coffee shop already switched to biodegradable coffee cups, cutlery, or straws. Manufacturers use wood pulp, plant material, or bamboo to manufacture paper. Most of the paper derives from recycled paper waste and materials.
A worldwide organisation, Forest Stewardship Council, verifies paper products and labels verified paper products to enhance recycling and counter deforestation. In 2018/2019, UK, despite being the largest user of forest products in the world, created 13,000 new hectares offsetting woodland usage. Plenty of paper products also come from the bamboo tree, which thrives for being renewable, thus recovers fast from harvesting. China, the most abundant wood exporter to the UK and US, has been growing the bamboo tree for over 1500 years now.
Bio-plastics are another biodegradable material used in creating food and packaging material. Bio-plastic primary raw material includes biomass sources such as pea-starch, vegetable starch, vegetable oils, micro-biota, and corn starch. Another bio-plastic raw material is waste paper and newspapers. Meaning your paper coffee cup can now get recycled to make biodegradable plastic. Wastepaper contains cellulose or starch vital for making bio-plastic. Manufacturers decompose the waste papers with the help of enzymes to get cellulose.
To enable waterproofing, coffee paper cups or biodegradable paper cups contain a thin plastic lining. The plastic lining can either be PLA or PE. Credible manufacturers use PLA coating for a customer’s safety. PLA, also poly-lactic acid, is a bio-plastic, thus doesn’t contaminate food or beverages. So recycling paper is the best way to counter plastic pollution and save the environment. Next time, dispose of that piece of paper or coffee paper cup in designated recyclable bins to ease recycling.