Whether disposable paper cups are more environmentally friendly than plastic cups

According to relevant reports, the annual disposable cups usage in our country reached 20 billion, which has caused a great burden on the environment and resource recycling. People use disposable products for convenience, and at present, there is a debate on whether disposable paper cups are more environmentally friendly than plastic cups?

About the answer of this question, we may take it for granted that plastic is a petroleum-based product that consumes oil and energy during its manufacturing process and is hard to degrade after use. It is one of the white pollution. The main component of paper cups is natural renewable resources, although the production process may also produce pollution, but energy consumption should be relatively low. The most critical point is that cellulose is easy to degrade, and will not produce white pollution. Therefore, most people think disposable paper cups are definitely more environmentally friendly than disposable plastic cups. However, the fact is not as simple as imagined.


While anecdotal, data is the single most important statement: Hocking, a Canadian scientist, did a analysis of this, comparing disposable cups between plastic and paper for hot drinks. He conducted a complete environmental assessment of disposable paper cups and disposable foam cups (polystyrene, PS) from raw materials to processing procedures, materials, paper recycling and polystyrene recycling options, final use and handling. Finally he concluded that plastic cups are not only more environmentally friendly than paper cups, but also in the production process of pollution, plastic cups caused less pollution!


Disposable paper cups, although made of cellulose, which are renewable. However, paper cups were considered as non-recyclable material, because the binder resin can not be removed in the repulping process, and it can also hinder the fiber recovery if it is wrapped with plastic film or paraffin on the outside of the paper cup to improve its handling properties. However, polystyrene cups can be recycled through GREENMAX machine such as melting machine.

It can be seen from the above analysis that people have always had some misunderstandings about the environmental protection of disposable paper cups and disposable plastic cups. In fact, disposable paper cups are not necessarily as environmentally friendly as disposable plastic cups. In particular, disposable paper cups are great waste of resources and the environment, and disposable paper cups are not as easy to degrade as imagined.