Often we end up ordering a coffee on the go due to the morning rush and sacrifice the rich aroma and taste that glass or ceramic cups provide. And instead, we settle for a plastic cup. While drinking out of a plastic cup, is the luxurious taste the only thing we are sacrificing?
Is it safe? Can you put hot coffee in a plastic cup or plastic red solo cup?
There are health risks. And the health risks that you are exposing yourself to by using plastic cups for hot coffee might take away your joy of enjoying the rush of caffeine.
However, as it is nearly impossible to avoid plastic cups while drinking coffee on the go, consider the points below to make healthier choices while choosing your coffee cups.
What Makes Red Plastic Cups So Available
One of the major factors behind the popularity of red plastic solo cups is that they are extremely cheap, easy to carry around, and durable compared to glass or ceramic. These cups are also disposable, which makes them perfect for when you are planning a party, picnic, or you just want to avoid washing too many mugs.
The basic plastic cups come in a variety of colors and are stackable, which also makes storing the cups really easy. These cups are so available that we often purchase them by the lot and do not give a thought to whether these plastic cups are built for hot liquids or cold ones.
However, while using these cups for drinking cold liquids out of them does not harm your health, pouring hot drinks into these cups that have high insulation might just do the opposite.
Plastic Red Solo Cups are Built for Cold Drinks Only
Plastic red solo cups are perfect for drinking cold beverages such as iced coffee, cold water, or cold brew coffee. Iced coffee-to-go needs to remain cold for as long as possible, and plastic cups help in doing exactly that.
However, paper cups are absolutely not recommended for cold drinks. Using plastic cups will stave off the paper dissolving that occurs when the cold liquid comes in contact with the hot air surrounding your paper cup.
Also, a factor to be considered is the amazing taste plastic cups provide when you are using them for cold drinks, as the plastic helps the drink remain cool, which in turn keeps the sugar from dissolving in the ice when poured into plastic cups.
And most importantly, the materials used in making plastic cups do not leak into your cold coffee as the materials leak only when they come into contact with hot liquid. This brings us to our next point.
What Happens When You Use Red Solo Cups for Coffee
Due to the carcinogenic property of non-biodegradable and non-heat-resistant plastics, when a hot substance such as coffee is poured into it, the plastic also heats up and melts into the coffee. While this will definitely make your coffee taste like plastic, the melted plastic properties will also wreak havoc on your health.
The widely popular single-use red cups should only be used for drinking cold drinks. The plastic cups are made of components that may lead to the migration of harmful chemicals. This phenomenon occurs because of the compound called Additives that are added to plastic polymers used to make plastic cups.
When the hot drink is poured into the cup, heat from the drink is transferred to the plastic cup, which leads to the additives melting into your hot drink. These components can damage both the environment around you as well as your wealth due to their non-disposable and harmful lead-carrying properties.
That being said…
Health Risks of Having Hot Coffee in Plastic Cups
Plastics and additives that are used to make coffee cups act as carriers for ion and heavy metal contamination. Non-degradable single-use plastic cups are usually made with vinyl chloride, formaldehyde, phthalates, and bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA.
All of these chemicals are non-biodegradable substances that have been linked to a variety of health problems. Some of these risks include:
- Different types of cancer.
- Reproductive harm.
- Hormonal disruption.
- Reduction of immunity.
- Organ development delays in children.
So it is much safer to drink out of cups that will not harm your health in the long run and let you enjoy the health benefits that caffeine offers.
Not All Plastic Cups are Harmful
Instead of using plastic red solo cups, you can opt for biodegradable leak-proof solo cups that are built with insulation up to 175 degrees. The bio gradable cups also come with lids that will let you enjoy your coffee while walking down the street without worrying about splashing coffee on yourself.
The degradable disposable cups are also good for the environment, and this way, you are also playing a part in reducing the ever-increasing amount of non-disposable plastic in the environment.
But a fair warning, even when you are using plastic cups that are safe to drink hot coffee from, never microwave something made of plastic unless it is certified microwavable by the brand. Better to completely avoid microwaving plastic cups.
Alternatives to Using Harmful Plastic Cups
Solo produces both the bio-degradable, insulated cups and the red solo cups. Make sure to use the appropriate cup according to the temperature of your coffee. The double-walled insulated cups are more commonly known as the 12 oz or 16 oz solo disposable cups.
Using these cups, you can easily ensure no leakage of harmful substances into your drink.
However, if you are having coffee at home or sitting down in the cafe, an environment that lets you skip using plastics entirely, choosing ceramics or glass mugs is the best option. Health factors aside, the taste remains unparallel in a proper coffee mug.
You can also carry around a traveler tumbler made of insulated stainless steel that will allow you to keep your coffee aroma and the temperature piping hot for over six hours. A lot of coffee shops allow filling up coffee tumblers once they weigh in the tumbler’s weight and can charge you accordingly.
Or you can just pour the coffee from a glass or a ceramic mug into your tumbler and rest assured for the day.
Can you put hot coffee in a plastic red solo cup? I hope you’ve got the answer by now.
Make sure to ask about the quality of the cup if you are ordering to-go in a rush and switch the order to a cold drink if you run out of options. It all comes down to choosing the right cup depending on whether you have your coffee hot or cold. And now that you know which cup to pick, relax into your seat, take a deep breath to inhale the intoxicating smell, and sip away your coffee without worrying about health factors!