The foam coffee cup is starting to regain its popularity these days. These Styrofoam ones used to be very popular before the paper cups were invented. After the release of the paper version, the foam began to have a negative image on the consumers, as with other disposable cups.
The reason for this is because unlike paper, plastic foam cups and the like are made from non-renewable materials and are therefore deem not friendly to the environment. Yet despite its negative connotation, the foam cup was still widely used and preferred by some, especially by vending machine companies. It still has its advantages over the paper ones.
For one, foam are better insulators. This means that you can directly hold it with hot coffee inside without burning your hand or your fingers. A paper cup full of hot coffee will definitely be impossible to hold without a cardboard sleeve.
Which brings us to another advantage of the foam. It is more cost effective to use it than paper. Aside from the fact that the former eliminate the need of using a cardboard sleeve, they are also cheaper to make and mass produce. Paper cups actually use more materials in their manufacture than in manufacturing foam ones. The latter are made from petroleum while the former are made from petroleum and another material – wood pulp. For this reason, foam costs less than paper, making it more reasonable for vending coffee companies to use it in their vending machines. Even a printed foam cup will still cost less than using a paper one.
Finally, using foam for cups do not alter the taste of coffee. There are actually no documented studies that show whether foam affect the taste of coffee. Paper, on the other hand, has been shown to react with hot water so paper coffee cups may affect the taste of coffee.
Recent developments in research have shown that contrary to popular belief, cups made from paper are not that environment friendly either. It uses more materials hence more resources and energy are required in their production. Paper generate more waste than using foam. Although they are made from renewable resources, their material does not guarantee that these paper cups will biodegrade quickly. 20 years from now a paper cup is still a paper cup. Of course, the best way to go would always be using a reusable cup or mug when drinking coffee. iced coffee holder