So as we’ve mentioned, we’ve come to a conclusion recently that a large knowledge gap exists regarding biodegradable food packaging products and biodegradable cups.
We recently wrote up a buyer’s guide on compostable cold cups. We encourage you to read this guide first as it will give you the foundational buying knowledge you need when it comes to purchasing biodegradable cups.
In this post we will focus on highlighting new criteria / information that you should be aware of specifically for biodegradable coffee cups.
Here’s what all purchasing managers need to know / evaluate when purchasing biodegradable cups and biodegradable coffee cups.
1. Price – This is again the most important factor for most organizations when it comes to purchasing biodegradable coffee cups. Again, we believe we have the best pricing available for small businesses, and as such, we encourage you to look around as pricing does vary widely.
2. Quality – Biodegradable coffee cup molds do not vary as profoundly as do molds for cold cups, and thus biodegradable coffee cups tend to be of similar quality. We do find that some are a bit more sturdy than others, but on the whole, quality is very similar across these biodegradable cups.
3. Design / Labeling – Again, labeling that identifies the biodegradable cups as 100% compostable is highly important. For more on why, please refer back to our buyer’s guide for compostable cold cups.
I’d like to focus here though on two very very important design aspects that many new-to-eco purchasers are not aware of.
There are many biodegradable coffee cups out there today claiming to be compostable & eco-friendly and they are not. They’re lined with polyethelyne and are not made with high-levels of recycled content, FSC-certified, or PCF/ECF. We highly recommend steering clear of these cups.
4. Applications – Biodegradable coffee cups can be filled with any liquid, cold or hot. Typical uses by size that we’ve seen include:
5. Compostability – Again, per our previous guide on cold cups make sure that the biodegradable cups you purchase are 100% compostable and are certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI).
Hopefully you’ve found the information helpful.
If you’d like, you can check out our compostable hot cups (from World Centric).
And If you have other things that you think we’ve missed or that you look for in biodegradable cups, please do add them in the comments.
About the Author: Dinesh was a co-founder of the Viv Biz Club, and has worked with hundreds of business owners and/or purchasing managers regarding their compostable needs. The Viv Biz Club works with a wide range of organizations, including: restaurants, cafes, schools, churches, farms, beverage companies, start-ups, in more than 30 states across the country.
1) In a recent study commissions by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition it was found that only 8.3% of commericial composting facilities that accept food packaging also accept coffee cups with polyethylene (PE) lining (vs. 80% acceptance for biodegradable coffee cups lined with a bio-plastic like poly-lactic acid).