We use paper cups for just about everything. Their versatility allows them to meet the demands of nearly anything we throw at them, from hectic schedule rushes for coffee to midnight cravings for steaming, hot soup during finals from a local Pho restaurant, where bowls are too much of a hassle. But we never seem to consider how much we take this mundane, yet extraordinary item for granted. From cheap coffee mugs that power us through our day to the fuel it gives us to survive strenuous study sessions, paper cups are revolutionary. At an initial glance it seems a silly thing to celebrate but imagining our lives without them puts their importance into a larger perspective.

What’s So Great About Paper Cups?

Paper cups are the best friend to everyone’s favorite caffeinated beverage, coffee. Coffee is considered by most to be a necessity, often traveling to a coffee shop a minimum of three times per day for a refill or to purchase another cup for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. According to statistics, nearly 30% of the population considers themselves occasional coffee drinkers, consuming 1.64 cups of coffee per day with the average size of a coffee cup roughly around 9 ounces. Coffee cups are usually designed with three things in mind: affordability, reusability, and aesthetic, small paper cups with lids embody just that. The use of small paper cups with lids is a widely popular design for coffee shops, because of the durability and handiness it provides customers while staying within a company’s budget. The quality of these cups varies considerably, depending on the type of coffee served. Usually, regular coffees are given paper coffee cups with lids or white disposable coffee cups, but specialty coffees consist of approximately 37% of U.S coffee cups being considered the highest quality in the world. However, the use of paper cups with lids is extremely popular with foods, such as hot soups that can be made into makeshift soup containers for an easy, portable lunch or ice cream for a cold treat on a sweltering day.

Why Paper Over Plastic Cups?

Unlike paper cups, plastic is not as readily versatile in its uses. Plastic is not meant to endure high-temperatures and will often melt when exposed to high levels of heat, rendering its uses limited because of its reactive properties. Paper cups have a variety of purposes, because of the material, it is made from, making it easy to absorb heat and safely handle hot items by workers and customers, alike. Recycling is also a main factor; disposable paper cups are easily biodegradable with no harmful effects because they are made from recycled materials, allowing consumers environmental consciousness and convenience bundled into one small disposable cup. During your next coffee run or lunch in between classes, remember to give some thanks to small paper cups with lids, they deserve it.

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