A Rough Comparison of Polystyrene and Polypropylene Disposable Drinking Cups

I thought disposable cups are changing its material to a more heat resistant polypropylene. The last disposable cup set I bought was a soft heat resistant polypropylene. It never breaks when crumpled and never deformed when poured with hot boiling water. I used if for maja gelling experiment with no problems. Perhaps can be used for serving hot coffee and tea provided that drinker has thick gloves on.
Recently, we ordered a merienda meal from Jollibee. The pineapple drinks were in capped disposable drinking cups. Drinks were relatively large. We were not able to consume it all and we’re forced to take it home.
jollibee coke disposable drinking cup cover
The beverage containers were PS, polystyrene. I took the chance to make a simple rough comparison. Please note that disposables are serve only for take out orders. Foods for dine-in customers are placed on washable ceramic plates.
Here it goes…
Polystyrene is low cost and easy to produce. Breakable CD cases and cheap razors and yogurt cups are made of PS. Polypropylene is more expensive. Notice the PP baby feeding bottles cost more.
Polystyrene produce mostly CO2, water and a little soot when incinerated. Polypropylene on the other hand is also considered non-toxic but the resulting products when normally burned are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbon (soot), formaldehyde, and acrolein. Normal campfire burning of PS is a different case and can be as dangerous as PP.
PS is not as heat resistant as PP. A slight deformation occurred when I filled it with boiling water. The cup got shorter and wider. Anyway, it is meant to contain ice-cold beverages and not steaming hot coffee.
PS is not as flexible as PP. It breaks easily when crumpled.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

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