Disposable cups are usually made from paper or plastic. The paper cups are given a thin lining of wax or plastic – mostly of polyethylene to give additional waterproofing characteristics to the paper cups. Though the coating of plastic gives barrier property enhancement to paper cups, it poses strain in recycling them. Separation of the plastic lining is difficult as it requires specialised facilities. Presently, most of the paper cups are either landfilled or incinerated.
Disposable plastic cups mostly are designed for single use only. They are usually preferred over stainless steel or glass particularly during gatherings because of its ease of handling and disposal, cutting down the labour and time of cleaning after its intended use. These disposable cups are generally thermoformed and are mostly made from Polystyrene (PS) or Polypropylene (PP).
Cups made from metals, bamboo, starch based products are good alternatives to disposable paper and plastic cups.