Everything You Need to Know About Plastic Free Paper Cups

Disposable Paper Cup That’s Eco-friendly and Economical

Now more than ever, businesses should be doing everything they can to reduce the negative impacts their beverage businesses have on the environment, from the manufacturing process to the recycling process. One huge step you can take to improve your eco friendly stance and reduce your carbon footprint for a sustainable business is to start using plastic-free paper cups for your takeaway drinks. These plastic-free disposable cups are much better for the environment than plastic cups as they require less energy and fuel consumption to manufacture and transport and are 100% recyclable.

How Do Plastic Free Paper Cups Work?

You may wonder how plastic-free disposable cups work without getting soggy and breaking up in your hands as soon as liquid is poured into them. This new plastic-free packaging technology creates an effective liquid barrier by using a chemical process to achieve aqueous coatings that are water and grease resistant. There is no plastic used at any point in the manufacturing process and the barrier is now fully recyclable and categorised as paper waste.

Raw material is used to create the plastic-free lining and the most common resource used is the pulp from trees. This is then mixed with chemicals and fused with water which is dried off to create the thin lining that acts as a barrier and protects the cups from liquids. The paper cups are manufactured using the same process as normal and the lining is added to create these fantastic plastic free paper cups which can then be used for all cafés and coffee shops that are looking to reduce their plastic waste.

The Advantages of Plastic Free Paper Cups

Plastic free disposable cups are becoming more and more popular for use in cafés and coffee shops due to their fantastic benefits. It is a good idea to consider moving your business into using paper cups without plastic coating for many reasons such as:

1. Eco Friendly

One of the main advantages of using plastic free paper cups for your beverage business is that they are more eco-friendly than traditional plastic cups. Plastic free disposable cups are categorised as paper waste meaning they don’t have to dispose of the lining separately and can go straight to the same paper recycling facility. They are fully recyclable with the ability to be recycled up to 7 times and still achieve the same high quality. They are also compostable as the lining is made from wood pulp that will enrich the soil.

2. Reduces Amount of Plastic Waste

These paper cups without plastic coating are hugely beneficial for coffee shops as they effectively reduce your plastic consumption and waste. A lot of plastic is unrecyclable and ends up in landfill but with these plastic free paper cups, your business will be much more sustainable and it will also boost your reputation among customers as you are known to use environmentally friendly packaging for your takeaway cups.

3. Lightweight and Durable

The paper cups without plastic coating are highly durable and strong due to the lining that protects the paper from the liquid contents. The high quality food grade paper strengthens the stability of the cups and they are able to withstand the heat of hot drinks as well as keep the drinks insulated. The cups are also lightweight and stackable making them easier to transport which also reduces the fuel and energy consumption used during manufacturing and travel which effectively lowers your carbon footprint.

3. Drink Safe

The plastic free lining which is made from wood pulp, water and chemicals to create a liquid barrier is free from harmful substances and is compliant with food safety regulations. Here at GMZ, the plastic free paper cups are made from high quality food grade paper and have passed the EU FCM test (Food Contact Materials) and are PFAS free certified (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances). Customers are sure to receive plastic free disposable cups of the highest standard which are safe to drink from.

PE vs. PLA vs. Plastic-free Paper Cups

Traditionally, paper cups have a plastic coating, typically polyethylene (PE), which strengthens the cup’s structure and prevents liquids from seeping through. However, this plastic-coated convenience has significant environmental drawbacks. Due to the plastic content, these cups contribute to an extended breakdown period, often causing soil and water pollution. What’s more, their disposal creates challenges even in recycling facilities as it’s not easy to separate the plastic lining from the paper.

Enter the eco-friendly alternatives: Plastic-free paper cups and PLA coated cups.

Plastic-free paper cups are a standout innovation, free of plastic entirely. These cups leverage new packaging material technology, combining recyclability with adequate degradation. They replace the traditional plastic coating with other sturdy and durable materials, ensuring you can enjoy your beverage without any eco-guilt.

PLA (Polylactic Acid) coated paper cups also offer a green alternative. They swap out the PE lining with plant-based materials, making them more environmentally friendly than their traditional counterparts. However, it’s noteworthy that PLA coated cups often come with a slightly steeper price tag than plastic-free cups.

FeaturePE Coated Paper CupsPLA Coated Paper CupsPlastic-free Paper Cups
Coating MaterialPolyethylene (PE)Polylactic Acid (PLA)Biodegradable and recyclable coating
Renewable OriginDerived from fossil fuelsDerived from renewable resources (cornstarch)Often made from sustainably sourced paper
Environmental ImpactRelies on fossil fuels; less eco-friendlyBiodegradableRecyclable, degradable, less environmental footprint
Recycling ChallengesPE coated paper cups cannot be recycled easilyLimited recycling facilities for PLAFully recyclable without the need for separating materials
UsabilityStrong and reliable, strong insulation, but can leak chemicals.Good durability, no chemical leaching, but insulation could be better.High structural integrity, no chemical leak, but low insulation.
Decomposition TimeTakes hundreds of years to decompose.Rapidly decompose in commercial facilities but slower in home compost.Fastest, decompose naturally in weeks or a few months.

Key Takeaways

✅ 100% recyclable with NO plastic coating
✅ 100% safe to drink from with no chemical leaks
✅ Cost higher than traditional PE cups, but lower than PLA cups

GMZ Collection

GMZ is a paper cup manufacturer that advertises a wide range of products that are suitable for your beverage business. Here you will find the eco friendly plastic free paper cups, as well as single wall paper cups, double wall paper cups and ripple wall paper cups. There are also PLA and PE coated paper cups available which are still recyclable and all the cups are available in a wide range of sizes from 4oz to 22oz to cater for a large selection of drinks on your menu.

The paper cups all come with matching, tight fitting cup lids that prevent spillages and keep the contents fresh. GMZ also offers a custom printing service in which your standout logo or unique design can be printed onto the cups as a marketing tool. The paper cups without plastic coating are drink contact safe and we can also print the batch code on the bottom of your cups to track the manufacturing process for extra reassurance on the quality control of the products.

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