Any industry that uses or depends on disposables will have experienced a turbulent couple of years, mainly following the huge global focus on sustainability and single use plastics / disposables etc. A lot of media attention has centered around franchised coffee chains as they’re a very visible user of disposable products, namely disposable paper coffee cups.
Various coffee chains, such as Boston Tea Party for example, have sought to ban single use paper cups from their business entirely. Others have vouched to replace traditional plastic lined paper cups with biodegradable or compostable options in order to tick that all-important environmentally aware box. We’ve also seen the rise of schemes designed to recycle the plastic lined paper cups using a specific process to separate the plastic content first.
Initially there was a lot of skepticism of such schemes, especially in relation to how they’d affect the core business, and in turn, profitability. In reality however the takeaway coffee industry has continued to flourish and indeed grow. The UK market has doubled in size (£bn) between 2010 and 2018 and is forcasted to grow at an average of 6.8% per annum for next 6 years.
UK consumers drink 3.3kg of coffee per head / per year (2015), however this is still behind USA and developed European competitors (4.5 – 6.5kg). Market trends and buying patterns suggest that the coffee to go market will continue to grow, and that it will simply learn to adapt in terms of reliance on disposables. This will be either through new compostable coatings or better collection, sortation and recycling facilities.
The most common paper cups sizes are 8oz and 12oz. We also stock lots of other speciality cup sizes such as the 4oz espresso cups, or the 6oz cups designed for flat whites. A less common coffee cup size is the 20oz cup, a full pint of capacity for extra-large Tea or Coffee.
We only offer these cups as a plain brown insulated ripple cup; obviously with a cup of this size you will require the extra insulation so the drink stays warm. Most Coffee chains use a 16oz cup as their largest size, but we had repeated requests for an even bigger cup to be used as a jumbo size.
This will never be the most popular cup size in your inventory, but it does seem to have a certain niche appeal for customers wanting to serve really large beverages.
This is a very common question from private customers, but often from coffee shop / cart owners on occasions too. We stock a huge range of different paper cup types, these then come in a wide range of sizes. We realise this can be a somewhat bewildering range for the casual customer so we’ve put together a bit of a guide to help you make your choice.
The most common sizes are 8oz and 12oz, most customers will end up purchasing one of these sizes as they represent a small or regular serving of coffee. We have other more specialised sizes too though which might also be suitable.
4oz paper cups: these are sometimes mistaken for “the smallest size takeaway coffee cup”, purchased in error when an 8oz cup was actually required. A 4oz cup is an espresso shot only; you’d never serve a tea or regular coffee in this size. It’s also extremely popular with companies serving samples of their products.
6oz paper cups: generally these are purchased for serving the increasingly popular “flat white”. Some more specialised artisan coffee houses have also taken to using this size in place of the 8oz cup too.
8oz paper cups: the go-to size for a lot of customers, it’s generally classed as either a “small” or a “regular” in the coffee to go world.
10oz paper cups: designed specifically to fit under the nozzle of automatic coffee machines, these hold 10oz comfortably with the max capacity being a shade under 12oz. This is a common size of a medium / regular takeaway coffee.
12oz paper cups: normally considered a medium size and traditionally the most popular. It’s a versatile size that can be used for lots of different beverages, to reduce the number of cup sizes stocked some coffee chains will serve small / regular and medium servings in this size of cup.
16oz paper cups: the largest mainstream cup size you’ll encounter, it has the same diameter as a 12oz cup, it’s just quite a bit taller. Generally a coffee chain will use fewer of these than the more common 8 or 12oz sizes.
This has been a popular question as of late, with a hugely increased focus on environmental responsibility companies and private individuals using disposables now looking at their usage with sustainability in mind.
Before tackling the topic of recycling it’s important to note the different types of paper cups commonly in circulation:
Paper cups with PE (polyethylene) lining
Paper cups with PLA (cornstarch) lining
Bamboo cups with PLA (cornstarch) lining
It’s a common misconception that paper cups with a lining cannot be recycled; in fact this is completely untrue. Paper cups cannot simply be put in your regular household paper recycling stream as the lining is classed as a contaminant; however there are other ways of recycling the paperboard used in these cups.
All cups need some sort of lining, without this they will leak. We’re often asked why cup manufacturers don’t just remove the plastic lining. It’s there for a reason; it keeps your coffee in your cup!
To be recycled correctly paper cups either need to be “cut” or mixed with a pure source of paper recycling (newspaper for example) or sent to a specialised facility that has a process to separate the lining from the cup before recycling the paper part. Both of these methods are good alternatives to the recycling issue. When mixing the paper cup waste with a pure form of paper recycling, the plant is simply managing the contamination level to keep it within tolerance. A certain percentage of contamination is acceptable and still results in usable paper pulp. Separating the lining from the cup is the other option, if there’s a facility for this method available in your area then this will enable cups to be directly recycled – however this is very area dependent.
Looking to have your cups recycled? There are various schemes that we support which can assist with this, for example:
Save a cup can arrange collections of your cups if the volume of use is sufficient, they will then process the waste using a suitable facility: http://www.save-a-cup.co.uk/.
Simply cups offer a wealth of advice on cup recycling and also offer a “post back” service when you can send your cups for recycling: https://simplycups.co.uk/
Bamboo cups are a newer type of cup that doesn’t rely on traditional paperboard, as the name suggests they’re made from fast growing sustainable Bamboo grass. This is not suitable for recycling at present, but these cups are designed to be sent to commercial composting facilities where they’re processed and completely break down to mulch.
We recommend checking with your local council and asking what recycling and processing facilities are available in your area. Some councils have processing facilities dedicated to paper cups and are able to recycle or process them directly. As this is done on a per-council basis customers need to check what facilities are available in their area – it may well be that your local council has a regular collection that’s compatible with paper cups, or a collection centre.
These were initially launched in 8 and 12oz sizes only, however due to their popularity we’ve added the larger 16oz size to the range also. Our range of biodegradable double wall paper cups use a PLA (polylactic acid) coating on the paper instead of the more common PE (Polyethylene) plastic coating, this means they are completely biodegradable
The large 16oz size accepts the same 90mm lid as the 12oz size, you can choose from our regular plastic lids or purchase one of the newer biodegradable cPLA lids for a completely eco-friendly solution to takeaway coffee.
Compostable / Biodegradable paper cups have seen an exponential increase in popularity since their introduction way back in 2012. More and more commercial customers are adopting these cups as an alternative to the more traditional plain white single wall paper cups. In the UK we use currently use 7 million paper cups every day and there’s currently a push in the media promoting switching to compostable products.
The actual cup itself is exactly the same, made from the same virgin grade paperboard as any other single wall cup. The difference comes from the lining used inside the cup. All disposable cups need some sort of inner lining to maintain the integrity of the cup, without any lining the cup would absorb water, leak and go rather soggy! The lining forms a waterproof barrier and stops the paper absorbing liquid.
A regular disposable cup has a PE lining (polyethylene), this is a plastic-based product which is not compostable. Biodegradable cups feature a different type of lining; this is PLA (Polylactic Acid), a resin made from corn starch. This lining is completely biodegradable and compostable. Our cups comply with EN13432, which is the European standard for compostability.
Biodegradable paper cups can be sent to any composting facility for processing. It’s increasingly common to find mandates to use biodegradable disposables in the workplace, in these scenarios, where companies have a composting scheme set up, our range of PLA biodegradable cups are the perfect solution.
We also stock a range of biodegradable plastic lids to fit this range of cups; these are the same size as the regular lids used for our 8oz or 10-20oz cups. You could even use these on our full range of cups if desired.
Which cups should I order?
This choice basically comes down to the intended use of the item and partially personal preference. An insulated cup is preferable where you might plan on serving Black Tea / Coffee, or other hot beverages without Milk. These tend to be much hotter and therefore benefit from the extra insulation, a double wall cup won’t feel as hot to touch as a single wall cup. Some customers also simply prefer a more substantial cup; if they’re serving a more premium beverage for example.
How do these cups provide extra insulation?
There is an extra layer that forms a barrier on the outer of the cup, this traps air between the cup itself and the layer which the customer holds. The extra barrier provides extra insulation from the heat source, keeping the warmth in and the cup a sensible temperature to hold.
Which cups provide the best insulation?
In descending order, our ranges of cups would be ranked as follows:-
Single wall with additional sleeve
Ultimate / triple layer cups
Double Wall cups
Single wall cups
Can I have these cups customised? Yes, we provide printing services on our full range of paper cups for quantities of 10,000 units and above. You can find more information on the custom printed section of our website at: https://innsupplies.com/printed
We’ve just added plain Black to our range of double wall paper cups, in addition to the existing plain White and Barista mixed design cups already available in this category. Double wall cups provide an extra layer of insulation over the standard single-wall cups, the additional outer layer keeps the drink warmer for longer and makes the cup more comfortable to hold.
We’re offering these in the usual range of sizes; 8oz (small), 12oz (regular) and 16oz (large) – they accept the same sip-through lids as the rest of our disposable paper cups (excluding ultimate).
As this is a new range, the Black double wall cups are discounted by 10% when you order 2+ cases, no need for any discount codes – this will be automatically applied to your order when you order a quantity of 2 or above. This offer is available until the end of January.
Crazy about coffee: the UK’s love affair with coffee
Whether it’s cappuccinos for the commute or an after-meal Americano, us Brits are crazy about coffee. The culture is engrained in the way we live — but how did it all begin and where is our love of java taking us? Paper coffee cup retailer, Inn Supplies, explores.
The growth of coffee shops
Over the past six years, the landscape of coffee shops in the UK has shifted dramatically — much to the delight of coffee-loving Brits. Nowadays, brands like Starbucks and Costa are household names, with outlets found in the majority of British towns and cities.
However, less than ten years ago, the number of these big-player coffee shops was considerably less. Costa’s growth is perhaps the most impressive — back in 2010, the chain had 658 coffee shops in the UK. In just a five-year period, that figure had grown by more than double to 1,582.
Although widely regarded as one of the world’s biggest brands, the number of Starbucks coffee shops in the UK is surprisingly low. In 2010, there were 595 outlets. By 2015, this figure had grown by just 124, taking the total to 719. While still dwarfed by Costa’s market share, the increase still illustrates our growing love affair with coffee.
In fact, all of the UK’s big coffee brands, including Caffè Nero, Pret A Manger and Wild Bean Cafe have witnessed growth in their number of retail outlets.
Other brands are trying to get a cup of the action too. Greggs has been steadily introducing coffee to their offering, growing the number of shops serving coffee from 1,269 in 2010 to 1,621 in 2015. In fact, as of 2015, 39% of the coffee market was occupied by non-specialist outlets, like pubs and supermarkets.
It’s no secret that pubs are struggling to keep up with the changing economic climate. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) reports that an average of 27 pubs are closing each week, with 1,088 shutting their doors between June and December 2015. The attachment of pubs to the thriving coffee industry works to underline the popularity and success of the shops.
How much coffee are we drinking and who’s drinking it?
Naturally, the growth in coffee shops is fuelled by a growing demand for java. According to research from Mintel, almost three quarters of Britons now buy coffee when out and about. This lifestyle is most popular in the 16-34 age category, with 81% doing so.
Further research from Kantar Worldwide found that 80% of coffee shop fans visit an outlet at least once a week. Some 16% of hardcore coffee lovers visit every day.
We drink an estimated 55 million cups of coffee each day in the UK. Over the course of the year, around two billion of these cups come from coffee shops. In 2015, we spent £7.9 billion in UK coffee shops. Showing a 10% increase on the previous year, this expenditure is set to soar again in the coming years.
Allegra predicts that by 2025, coffee shops in Britain will achieve a £15 billion turnover. To support this growth in revenue, the number of outlets is expected to expand too. The 20,728 coffee outlets recorded at the end of 2015 is set to grow to in excess of 30,000 shops.
With our love for coffee growing stronger by the day, there are no signs of the industry slowing. Anyone fancy a coffee?