Paper cups are disposable cups made of paper and lined with wax or plastic (PE coated paper, reel and sheet) to prevent the liquid from soaking the paper.
Types of paper used for paper cup
When making paper cups, the paper used for making them can have different kinds of certificates which can impact how much it cost, the environmental impact of it and the workers are impacted by it. In the following sections I will talk a bit about normal paper, FSC certified paper and FSI certified paper.
Cups from normal paper
The main raw material that paper cup manufacturers need is wood, which is a renewable resource. The paper used for normal cups can come from forestry all over the world, such as the Amazon, but it can also be forests in Europe that live up to standards of FSC, but do not have the certification. As explained above the tree then go through a process to become paper. When the paper is made, then some coating is added to cups so they can contain liquid – I will later explain the different kinds of coating that can be added to the paper.
Cups from FSC® paper
When a product or paper says it is FSC certified it means that the whole process of making this product has been FSC certified, so the manufacturer and all the distributors and vendors are FSC certified. Companies that wants to sell FSC products, they need to follow the rules and principles that FSC has established. The FSC organization has ten principles that the forestry needs to comply with such as that no more trees are harvested than the forest itself can manage to reproduce, thus securing a constant source of material.
In Europe, 92.2% of forests managed by European pulp and paper companies are certified either by FSC or the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification. In Europe, 72% of consumed paper is sent to be recycled and 90% of newspapers are printed on recycled paper.
FSC has 3 different labels that are stamped on their products and they are called FSC 100%, FSC Recycled and FSC Mix.
Means that the wood within the product comes entirely from FSC-certified and well managed forests.
Means all the wood or paper in the product comes from reclaimed or re-used material.
This means that products that have this label on are made from a mixture of recycled materials, FSC-certified forests or controlled wood.
FSI stands for Fibre Sorting, Inc., they have been in the paper making industry for more than 27 years and they are producing paper products purely from recycled materials. FSI uses 100% recycled paper as raw materials, to ensure a steady and reliable supply of raw materials, the company works together with waste paper dealers and suppliers in the Philippines. In Limepack we do not know anyone who offers paper cups made of FSI paper.
How are cups made from paper?
After the production of paper is finished, the paper is transported to facilities and industries for different purposes, one of them is making paper cups.
The paper cups can either have three or four stages when they are made – The number of stages depends on if they are printed or not, if they are printed they are printed before being cut out and folded into paper cups. This is also the reason why it is also almost impossible to print on already folded paper cups.
When the paper cups have been printed, they are cut out in bended templates hereafter they go in to a big machinery that folds the paper cups and bends the top of the cup so they are pleasant taking a sip of. In the last step the bottom of the paper cups are put in and reenhanced to make the structure of the cup strong.