Confused By Paper Cups? Here’s A Guide To The Choices Available for Buying Printed Paper Cups Wholesale
(Updated for 2020)
While the complicated debate around the environmental impact of packaging waste continues, what are the options available when it comes to buying eco-friendly or regular custom printed paper cups wholesale – and to ensure your customers can dispose of them with peace of mind?
Reusables only go so far as the majority of coffee purchases are still spontaneous. Until the facts are fully unpacked on this issue, demand for single use disposable cups is set to continue unless there are wholesale changes in mindset or legislation that affect consumers’ habits.
Post Covid19 the spotlight is also on hygiene more than ever – while sustainability stays critical too. (Did you know that paper cups were originally introduced for Public Health reasons?) In fact another recent study (post Covid19 outbreak) has shown that disposables reduce the persistence and circulation of foodborne pathogens.
Your Brand, Out There
When you’re looking where to buy disposable coffee cups, you also want to showcase your brand with custom printed cups. But what happens to the cups with your brand on them is worth some careful thought.
First, let ‘s look at the options available. (Click to expand the sections to read more on each cup type.)
So what types of custom printed paper cups are out there wholesale?
Which Custom Printed Disposable Cup Type Suits Your Brand?
The material you choose to serve your customers takeaway drinks in can say a lot about your brand values.
So it’s worth considering carefully before considering what cups to buy wholesale, stock and serve – and how you might assure customers what happens to their paper cup.
After all, you may well pay for a specialist collection service for eco-friendly models – but most of your customers aren’t putting them into the bins you provide once they’ve left your premises.
Some chains are making big efforts to collect cups and pass them to the right processors. But, again, this involves customers bringing the cups back to an outlet.
Cup disposal is a complicated issue. Your customers walk out trusting that whatever sustainable cup you’ve chosen to serve can be processed according to type. More often than not, that’s not really the case though.
In Ireland and the UK a lot of bins are still not segregated into waste types, so trash largely goes to landfill regardless of you or your customers’ best intentions.
This means even compostable cups are not returning any benefit to the biosphere. See an example of this in New Zealand.
Checking-In with your Local Authority and Waste Processors
Lobbying your local government to collect recyclable cups is the ideal solution to a viable end-of-life pathway for paper cups.
And if authorities accept recycled cups now, then you can show certification from us – or request reports – to prove that Path 13 is a viable option for accepting reCUP recyclable paper cups.
We also strongly advise working with local waste management companies to ensure they’re aware of what types of cup are circulating in their local area so that cups are accepted into their streams.
Street Bins and Domestic Bins
Cafe owners pay their rates that contribute towards council litter bins. But the street furniture local government provides is often not to the standard of waste segregation required.
This is because the process for disposal isn’t there following collection with so much going direct to landfill.
PE-lined cups that are accepted by the plants that can process them still require additional steps to pick and sort them from other paper waste. (They still accept paper envelopes with plastic windows though, so, go figure … ).
Again, reCUP is arguably the easiest product to prove that no additional picking is required, because it’s designed to be processed through Path 13 without issues.
If you serve sustainable paper cup models and your local authority is collecting recyclable waste, then a recyclable cup is a great option to ensure the material is reused and redistributed in a circular economy. This is because it comes from a mix of both recycled and sustainable resources – plus it can be recycled repeatedly.
Choose the right waste path
There is likely no widespread street furniture offering compostable segregation for vendors. So event concessions or organisers for example, will need to find a viable path to industrial composting facilities if they choose to serve so-called biodegradable cups on location.
Once again, in this case, showing certification such as the reCU AAA classification to waste collectors and processors is advised to ensure the maximum benefits from using sustainable cups are achieved.
Encouraging your customers to take their cups home and place them in the right type of bin (brown for compostables, recycling for recyclables) is also a realistic step in the right direction.
In fact in a recent YouGov survey in the UK, 68% of respondents said individuals should be responsible for their own takeaway waste. A further 9% thought the responsibility should lie with retailers, 8% with packaging producers, and 5% with local councils.
This way both recyclable and compostable cups will go into the right processing streams – as will PE-lined, regular paper cups once there are more plants re-accepting this type of cup.
Packaging companies are making strides in sustainable options, but authorities could arguably do more to enhance their own services instead of just taxing consumers or vendors.
Comparing single use cups with reusables
It’s a complicated argument but a fascinating study by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research gave a strong argument that disposable cups have a lesser impact on the environment than a reusable cup.
Here is another similar study referenced on the climate impact of reusables vs. paper cups.
As ‘greenwashing’ subsides, the arguments are stacking up more and more that reusable cups may be no better than disposable paper cups, with a wider perspective applied by the media on where cups fit into ecological and climatological effects begins to surface.
Landfill Good or Bad?
On the subject of landfill and recycling as a contribution towards climate change this clip gives a very interesting perspective – and even argues landfill as being a viable option.
However landfill does contribute towards methane production.
About Cup Print
- Cup Print is a Huhtamaki Group company and the only disposable coffee cup supplier manufacturing all three choices of paper cup type.
- Cup Print specialise in producing beautiful, branded paper cups custom printed for cafe and coffee shop operators.
- Cups are available from quantities as low as 1000 pcs with high resolution custom printing and 15-day delivery.
- Cup Print manufacture cups and supply Europe-wide from their HQ in Ireland.
- This fast turnaround and Low Minimum Order Quantity means smaller businesses with less storage space can present their brand with a unique and high quality branded paper cup.
Sustainable cups already make up over 50% of Cup Print’s business and this figure is expected to be close to 100% by the end of 2019.