Compostable Bioplastic Cups vs. Plastic Cups: Impact and Sustainability

Compostable Bioplastic Cups vs. Plastic Cups: Impact and Sustainability

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6.8% of 30 MILLION TONS of plastic waste generated per yr is recycled. How about Compostable Bioplastic?
Friday, July 30, 2010 - 4:11pm


For the average person facing a busy life and balancing a hectic schedule, convenience is king. It's no surprise that consumer’s turn to whatever is fastest, easiest or cheapest. We all know that some of these choices are having a significant and immediate impact on our environment, which will lead to even greater problems in the future, unless we start changing.

Take for example, the commonly used item, the plastic cup. The human body needs a fairly continuous level of hydration to function at an optimum rate, so we need to drink a lot. Plastic cups are a staple at restaurants, coffee shops, the workplace kitchen, picnics, parties- it's hard to think of an everyday or social setting where you wouldn't find a plastic product. However, here's the scary part- research shows that almost every piece of plastic ever made exists today. With the prevalence of the green movement, we might assume that almost everyone is recycling, but of the nearly 30 MILLION TONS of plastic waste that’s generated per year, only 6.8% of it is recycled.[i] Unfortunately, plastic is not compostable. A plastic cup can take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill, so that picnic cup your grandfather may have left at the park in the litterbug happy fifties is probably still there.

Also plastic is petroleum based, and it's estimated that about 4% of the world's oil production is used to create plastic products.[ii] With our dependence on fossil fuel being questioned and plastic’s significant effect on our environment; a viable alternative is a must.

However, today there are alternatives to plastic. The sustainable choice is to use a reusable cup.  If you can’t use a reusable cup, the best alternative is a compostable bioplastic cup. Compostable bioplastic cups are made from annually renewable raw materials such as corn, tapioca, are non-toxic and take 30% less total energy to produce. They'll degrade in a commercial composting facility in 180 days, or in approximately 1-2 years in a home composting bin. Compared to hundreds of years for plastic cups, that's phenomenal.

Compostable cups, offer the same benefits of plastic with a reduced environmental impact. They are as light and strong as regular plastic and just as convenient.

Many companies are offering environmentally friendly food packaging alternatives with World Centric at the forefront. World Centric has been in business since 2004 and manufactures its own high quality food service disposables and packaging products, including compostable cold cups. World Centric thinks of itself as a for-profit social enterprise. By selling sustainable products, World Centric serves as a model for fair labor and sustainable business practices, all the while educating consumers about living greener. World Centric offsets all its carbon emissions from raw materials to delivery and gives a large percentage (25%) of profits to grass roots organizations dedicated towards making the world a better place.

World Centric is a great example of the slew of new companies promoting sustainability through and through. Not only should products be conscientious, so should businesses and consumers.