Disposable paper cup, safe to use and environmentally friendly to throw

From January 1 this year, "plastic restriction order" has been upgraded to "plastic prohibition order". Disposable plastic straws, tableware and other plastic products have been banned, while pulp products, such as disposable paper tableware and paper cups, have become the most common substitutes. However, a new study published by the Indian Institute of technology in the Journal of hazardous materials points out that long-term drinking hot drinks with disposable paper cups and eating hot meals with disposable lunch boxes will pay a health price; using disposable paper cups to hold hot drinks will release tens of thousands of potentially harmful substances, namely plastic particles, into drinks within 15 minutes. People can't help wondering whether disposable paper cups can be used or not?

Regular way to buy, can use

Tian Junfei, Professor of School of light industry science and engineering, South China University of technology, has "reservation" on the above research conclusions. "The study found that in addition to releasing micro plastics, the paper cups also detected harmful substances such as heavy metal ions, which may be due to the quality problems of the paper cups used in the study," he said The paper cup has a shelf life, ranging from 1 to 5 years. If it exceeds the shelf life or the storage and transportation conditions are improper, it will cause the aging of the film covering, resulting in the overflow of micro plastic. Some paper cups whose quality does not reach the safety quality standard may have problems such as excessive heavy metal ions. However, this study only mentioned that five kinds of paper cups were collected in the campus, and the universality of sampling is questionable. In addition, the study did not clearly indicate whether the sample was within the shelf life, whether it met the safety standards, whether it was a variety that could not hold hot drinks, etc., so it could not be used as the exact evidence to prove the safety of the paper cup.

Tian Junfei introduced that unqualified paper cups do have health risks. For example, raw materials are moldy or contaminated during transportation and storage, printing ink quality is not up to standard, and chemical additives are not used in the surface treatment of paper cup, which may bring health risks, such as chemical composition, ink, micro plastic, etc., directly or indirectly endangering users. In 2019, 156 batches of paper cup products produced by 155 enterprises in 20 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) were randomly inspected in China, and no problem of excessive heavy metals, formaldehyde and other harmful substances was found. As early as 2007, paper cups without production license have faded out of the market. Therefore, the paper cups on the market in China should be free of the above security risks.

No vinegar or wine

The qualified disposable paper cup is light, sanitary and odorless. Tian Junfei said that if you want to buy paper cups, you should choose those sealed in plastic bags, with QS logo and within the shelf life. The cups should be relatively hard and thick, and those with too much white or too much ink should be avoided as far as possible. He also suggested that the following two types of food should be avoided when using all paper cups:

Vinegar and soda. Some experiments show that acetic acid may leach some chemical substances from polyethylene film. Therefore, try not to use disposable cups to hold vinegar, and try not to use it for a long time to drink juice or carbonated drinks.

Alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Some studies have found that the chemical content of wine will be greatly increased when the alcohol concentration of more than 45% is put in a paper cup for more than 2 hours. Moreover, alcohol may also dissolve some components in the ink on the surface of the paper cup, which is harmful to health.

Tian Junfei said that the paper cup made according to China's industry standards has a certain tolerance to high temperature, and can be used to hold hot water and hot coffee. There is no problem in terms of safety. But at present, we have no sampling index for micro plastics, so we can not give the relevant data.

In addition, there are two types of disposable cups on the market: cardboard cups and waxed cups. The former is mainly used to hold dry things, not water and oil; the latter is waterproof due to wax coating, but not hot water. No matter what kind of paper cup, it is recommended not to reuse, and try not to use the microwave oven heating, so as not to cause the cup local temperature too high, chemical substances precipitation. Therefore, if there is no indication that the paper cup can be heated in the microwave oven, try not to heat it.

Through the raw material information on the paper cup packaging, we can distinguish the types, but it is difficult for ordinary consumers to distinguish a single paper cup. Therefore, consumers are advised to use the cups with unknown raw materials carefully.