Why you should question a "plastic free" cup claim
January 31, 2019
Traditional takeaway paper cups feature a polyethylene plastic lining to make the cup waterproof. This lining is difficult to remove from the paper, which is one of the reasons these cups are not able to be recycled in existing infrastructure.
Incoming legislation looking at the sustainability of single-use packaging, alongside consumer pressure for an environmentally friendly option, has seen alternate cup linings hit the market.
Compostable, or PLA, cups have a lining made from corn starch or sugar cane. This bioplastic lining is still a plastic, and unless is makes it to an industrial composter, it is just as destructive as any other plastic packaging in the environment or landfill.
Some cups are also claiming to be ‘plastic free’, but often without clarity provided about what exactly the lining is, and what the end of life option is for the cup.