The primary problem with Styrofoam cups is that they do not biodegrade quickly and take up space in landfills. Styrofoam takes a long time to break down in the environment and can accumulate as harmful waste in landfills. Some coffee houses are now selling their coffee and hot beverages in biodegradable cups rather than in Styrofoam. The biodegradable cup does not use a paper jacket like most traditional hot beverage containers, but instead is designed with corrugated cardboard on the interior of the cup to keep the heat inside. The cups are less expensive and have a lower toxicity level than traditional to-go cups.
Plastic foam cup is recyclable and takes very little energy to make, which adds carbon dioxide and heat to plastics rather than petrochemicals and volatile organic compounds, ingredients found in traditional Styrofoam cups. It also creates very little solid waste if thrown away, making the plastic foam cup a viable alternative to the Styrofoam cup.
A reusable coffee cup can eliminate excess waste production and still provide a useful way to drink hot beverages. Purchase a coffee cup that is attractive, shows off your style and fits your individual needs. There are many different materials used to make reusable coffee cups including stainless steel, aluminum and hard plastic. Wash the coffee cup each day and you will have a clean, attractive and environmentally friendly alternative to using a wasteful Styrofoam cup.