Plastic cups represent 32,000 tonnes of waste per year in France. Since July 2021, the law on ecological transition has definitively put an end to disposable plastic cups. To understand these measures, you should know that plastic cups are not recycled much for financial reasons because they constitute a large volume but a low weight. However, the idea is not to eliminate cups but to find alternatives to these containers. Here are some explanations.
A law adopted in 2015 and implemented in 2020
Companies have had 5 years to prepare for the replacement of plastic cups. Mainly used by employees for water fountains, coffee machines and cafeterias, these 100% plastic containers are supposed to have disappeared from circulation since January 2020. Promulgated on August 18, 2005, the energy transition law for green growth provided for the elimination of plastic cups in order to replace them with containers made from biological materials.
This decision has an impact on manufacturers but also on companies, which will have to pay more for these new cups in biodegradable material. Because the cost of manufacturing a cardboard cup is significantly higher than a plastic cup. However, it is hoped that the manufacturing volumes will increase and contribute to a decrease in cost.
What alternatives to plastic cups?
For the new cups to enter the age of legality, they must be able to find their place in a compost bin. For this, three kinds of cups can be used.
As a first step, we can adopt the biodegradable cups in bioplastic . Their advantage is that they are made from natural materials such as plant starch from potatoes, corn or beets. On the other hand, their heat resistance is quite low since they cannot contain liquids above 40 °. They are therefore preferred for cold drinks.
Then there is the option of using laminated paper cups . Their heat resistance is much more important than those in bioplastic. Indeed, they can receive liquids up to 90 °. They are therefore appreciated for the thermal insulation they provide. The risk of burns disappears and you no longer need to pile up several cups to withstand the heat released.
Finally, don’t forget the reusable cups . From an ecological point of view, it is undoubtedly the most reliable and simplest solution on the market. Between cups, mugs and glasses, a simple wash and their use can be renewed. No need to call a recycling company afterwards.
The elimination of plastic cups: a financial impact
When purchasing managers learned of this snippet of the law, they also realized the financial impact it would have on their business.
In terms of cups, we now had to limit ourselves to “Those compostable in home composting and made up, in whole or in part, of bio-based materials. The terms of application (…) are fixed by decree, in particular the minimum bio-based content of the cups (…) and the conditions under which this content is gradually increased ”.
The cost of manufacturing biodegradable cups is significantly higher than that of plastic cups. Companies are therefore taking sides to make them real objects of communication. Slogans or logos are printed on the paper cups. For those who want to focus on reusable cups, this is an opportunity to offer employees a new mug at their workplace. It becomes pleasant to combine the useful with the pleasant.
Plastic cups are now giving way to biodegradable or reusable containers. The law of ecological transition leaves room for new modes of consumption and new behaviors in business. But this trend is well shared by employees who are also themselves consumers who are increasingly committed to an environmental approach.