Major Brands Look to Single-Use Cups for Sanitary Benefits
March 06, 2020
Over the past several weeks, disease prevention has been an increasingly popular topic. Major companies and brands have been releasing their plans to prevent illness for their employees and consumers. For Starbucks, the plan is simple. In an open letter posted on Wednesday, Rossann Williams, EVP, and President of US Retail, Starbucks, stated, “[The company has] taken a series of precautionary steps in response to this emerging public health impact.” For Starbucks, one of these steps involves “pausing” the use of personal cups. Williams goes on to state, “Our focus remains on two key priorities: caring for the health and well-being of our partners and customers, and playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the virus.”
This begs the question-why would reusable cups play a factor in the potential spread of the virus? Starbucks is suspending the use of personal mugs and tumblers in the hope that this may decrease the potential exposure between customers. In the wake of this decision, customers will likely turn to single use cups and lids.
This is not the first time single-use drink cups have been used for their sanitary benefits. In fact, the origin of single use cups began as a sanitary option for the containment and possible prevention of the Spanish Flu in 1918. Before that time, cups were often communal. According to Michael Park of Bon Appétit, “In the US, nearly one in three people was infected , and over half a million died. Suddenly, a healthy fear of germs wasn't just for hypochondriacs anymore. Disposable cups were here to stay.” Between use of the shared cups of the past and the current reusable cups of today, these cups are believed to increase viral exposure. Therefore, single use cups are not just a 1918 solution; they are a 2020 solution.
Today, modern cups offer recyclability and features like a new strawless lid. Technology continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, allowing for our new Bantam cup to enter the market using 10% less material.