You are most likely to drink beverages from plastic cups, and you might think that it is fine. I don’t mean that you should never drink from plastic cups.
However, if you knew what the cups are made of and how it impacts you, you might think another way.
What are plastic cups made of? Most plastic cups are made from raw materials such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate), PP (polypropylene), PS (polystyrene), and crude oil. While crude oil is a raw material source, it is not the biggest raw material for plastic production.
Read this article to learn more about plastic materials and how they impact your health and the environment.
Plastic Cup Materials
Disposable plastic cups are typically made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE), polypropylene (PP), and polystyrene (PS).
All these materials are safe. The difference in the properties of these products produces cups with various methods of processing and outlook.
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), PP (Polypropylene)
PP cups and PET cups are perfect options for your bubble tea store or restaurant.
Both types of cups are clear, recyclable, and healthy to drink from. Choosing between PP and PET cups depends more on your budget.
Polyethylene terephthalate cups are transparent, flat, and sturdy. They are freeze-resistant to 22°F and heat-resistant to 180°F. They’re ideal for juice, soft drinks, etc.
Typically, they have the number “1′′ within the recycle symbol along with the PET symbol.
Polypropylene (PP) cups are semi-transparent, lightweight, and crack-resistant. They have a high melting point and can tolerate gasoline, alcohol, and several chemicals.
They’re pretty safe to use for cocktails and other packages. You can find PP cups in various colors. Typically, the cups have the number “5” within the recycling sign, and the word “PP” under it.
Typically, two types of polystyrene materials are used to make cups and glasses: HIPS and GPPS.
The thermoformed cups are usually made of HIPS. The primary color is foggy and can be rendered in various shades. The HIPS cups are stiff and porous.
The PS cup is lighter than the PP cup of the same weight. Injected lenses are made of GPPS. The lenses are light and extremely light-transmitting. Plastic glasses are suitable for celebrations or other occasions.
They can be made in various colors; neon plastic glasses are perfect for night parties. Polystyrene is thought to be a potential human carcinogen, a substance capable of causing cancer in humans or animals.
Are Plastic Cups Safe?
Disposable cups are now the primary choice for parties and activities due to their beauty, reusable nature, and durability.
They are also sought by party organizers and recyclers because they are inexpensive and easy to recycle.
Plastic cups are very inexpensive. Some plastic cups are eco-friendly because, unlike paper products coated with plastic, they are made of a single substance and are easy to recycle.
Made of single-food polystyrene, they are not only easy to recycle but are largely intact and uncontaminated. Compared to glasses or porcelain cups, using them decreases anxiety over cracking.
Because they are unbreakable, they are perfect choices for children and the elderly. Plus, you don’t have to worry about wiping or washing disposable cups after a party.
Health Impact of Plastic Cups
Studies show that some plastic chemicals will leak out of plastic and into the food and beverages we consume.
These compounds have been associated with health issues such as metabolic diseases, including obesity and decreased fertility.
This leaching will occur much faster and to a higher degree when plastic is exposed to heat. You may get a higher dose of toxic chemicals by microwaving the leftovers in a plastic jar.
Environmental Impact of Plastic Cups
Disposable cups add to pollution. Eighty percent of underwater litter comes from onshore sources, with pollution originating from highways and poor sanitation in public areas.
Retailers are heading toward more natural solutions in terms of packaging. This can lead to the false belief that biodegradable packaging is more sustainable as it degrades in nature.
This is generally not the case, as biodegradable plastics need special requirements to deteriorate fully.
Microplastics can lead to incomplete degradation. Degradable plastics are not compatible with the existing recycling scheme because they cannot be combined with fossil-based plastics.
Therefore, most single-use cups wind up in landfills, which increases land pollution.
Harmful Plastic Materials
Toxicologists know phthalates as male reproductive toxicants. However, these chemicals are also known to have ill effects on females.
Phthalates sometimes referred to as plasticizers, are mostly the materials used to make vinyl plastics soft and flexible.
BPA has reproductive and other health implications in both humans and rodents.
It is also a part of epoxy resins used for a variety of purposes, such as lining the inside of food storage containers.
There are debates over how dangerous BPA is. Yet, there can be no doubt that there is extensive exposure to the chemical.
Make a Change
Recycling is a simple habit, but so few people do it. Take a reusable cup with you.
It’s a one-time commitment—a small move that, if enough people commit to it, will have a big effect on our climate and wellbeing.
It is difficult to remember to always bring a reusable cup with you, but you will get used to it in time.
Others are ashamed to bring their cups with them for some reason, but they should know how they can help save the world.
Aside from that, keeping a drinking bottle with you will help you save money.
Prepare a cup the night before or set a reminder. If you are very committed, pledge to not buy beverages until you have a reusable cup with you. It will require about three weeks to build a habit.
Stick to it, and get the happiest feeling by reading about the massive amount of waste you’re avoiding each year.
Starbucks is one of the biggest companies offering a discount if you bring a reusable mug with you. You can also buy tumblers at their stores.
Plastic items have become commonplace. Though deemed invaluable in many areas of life due to their simplicity and practicality, are they always harmless?
I don’t believe they are. Make a change now and help save your health and the environment.