Many of the paper cups currently offered in cafes are made in a double-wall design, which is essentially two nested cups. Compared to a single-wall cup, or a single wall cup with a sleeve, double wall cups offer a smooth surface perfect for printing, saves your hands from overtoasting, and is dependably Instagrammable.
May I make a case for the mild and unassuming paper sleeve? In a study conducted by Starbucks as far back as 1999 (which sounds like it was shortly after the invention of trees, let alone an appreciation for the environment), the majority of customers reported that environmental friendliness was one of the top 3 criteria by which they judged, loved or loathed a disposable cup. I reckon your customers care too.
For your discerning business mind’s further consideration:
1. Statistically, slurpers consider the single-wall cup + sleeve format to be more environmentally friendly than double-wall; the sleeve appears to ooze recyclability. Indeed, the sleeve is recyclable, and the cup is mostly not. 99% of coffee cups are not recycled. The plastic liner makes them too difficult for most facilities to handle.
2. Manufacturing a single-wall cup + sleeve set uses 45% less energy than a double-wall cup. This is due to the fact that sleeves are made of recycled paperboard, rather than new material, and that the amount of board used in a double-wall cup is more than that required for a a single-wall cup + sleeve. Not a bad thing to know.
3. You might be holding your finger up in the air, about to interject that I’m not accounting for the energy it takes to print the sleeve as well as the cup, manufacturing 2 items rather than 1, or transport for the lot. In fact, 90% of the energy used in getting a paper cup to your local coffee shop was used in manufacturing the raw materials for it. So there.
4. Lastly, the single-wall + sleeve configuration costs less than double-wall. Who doesn’t want that? Even better – it’s been found that many customers don’t use a sleeve at all. When cafés are set up such that customers add their own sleeve, a large portion don’t take one. This reduces waste and unnecessary spending, particularly when someone has ordered a drink that’s 80% foam and doused with cool honey and cream, the way I do.
We’ve recently printed some handsome fellows. Here's another shot of one of my favorites, made for Union Coffee in Tampa.