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Consumers are familiar with paper/cardboard drinking vessels due to the popularity of take-out coffee, and many will have consumed alcohol from paper cups at festivals.

Different weights of cup can be produced by using various weights of paper/card, and multiwalled versions are available to help with insulation to keep a drink hot or cold. Consumers generally dislike a flimsy container that feels as if it could collapse in their hand and spill the contents, so heavier material should be considered. Different finishes, such as the wrinkly effect of single face corrugating, can be used with paper to provide a good feel to the vessel.

A problem with this material is that the cups cannot be washed and reused.


Most paper cups have an extruded layer of high density polyethylene inside which provides a physical barrier to prevent the cup disintegrating. These coatings do not dissolve in water, making recyclability difficult. There are, however, some plants that can handle this such as StoraEnso's site in Germany. An alternative (used at the Glastonbury festival) is to compost using an accelerated in-vessel composter.