If You Must Use Plastic Mugs…

If you must use plastic mugs for your tea or coffee, at least shop around for something that is environmentally friendly.  With much more awareness now of the dangers to the environment posed by plastics in general there have been major strides made in producing plastic mugs that are not harmful at all to your health and that are biodegradable.

Top Pick: The Corn Mug

Lactic acid is extracted from corn kernels, converted to lactide, lactide molecules are strung together to create a natural polymer, polylactic acid which is known by the acronym PLA.  This is shipped off in pellets which are then melted down to produce an array of containers including the corn mug!

PLA has come a long way from its original inception. Initially it was not usable for mugs that held hot liquid as it had a fairly low melting point. It was originally used for packaging for takeaway food and other items sold in stores. Now however, you can buy a corn mug that is microwave safe, non toxic, odorless and reusable. It is also touted as being biodegradable, with some saying that it will break down in a composting facility in as little as 60 to 90 days.

There are some debates regarding the latter point.  It has been pointed out that it will not break down in a regular home compost heap, which does somewhat defeat the purpose of it being biodegradable. Recyling or compost facilities are not that keen on having PLA mixed in with their regular plastics either, however some have been quick to point out that the problem is not with the material itself but rather with the capabilities of the composting or recycling facilities.

Aside from a few grumbles regarding the actual biodegradability of corn plastic, it does remain that it is a viable option to regular plastics that is made entirely from organic substances. It is not at all dependent on petroleum for production. It not only saves oil but apparently generates a lot less air pollution during the production process as well. While they may not have all the kinks ironed out with this material yet, it does have potential.

Corn mugs that can be used as a coffe cup are made by several different US based companies and sold for very reasonable prices also. Typical types of mugs include a 10 ½ oz ‘coffee keg’, a 17 oz commuter mug complete with sippy top, and a 12 oz. soup mug. These items can be ordered in bulk and they can also be personalized.

Types of Plastic Mugs

A more common plastic mug is the polycarbonate mug. While this mug is not recommended for microwaves, it is fine for hot coffee or tea and it is dishwasher safe. This is by far the most common type of plastic mug you will see on sale, with melamine mugs coming in at a close second. (Melamine is not microwave or oven safe either.)

You can find plastic beer mugs, plastic travel mugs, insulated plastic mugs and a variety of different styles of plastic coffee mugs. Of course, some people prefer to drink beer from a beer glass, not a plastic mug!  While not considered to be unbreakable coffee mugs they do take a lot of wear and tear and are fairly hardy; much less likely to break or chip than a regular ceramic coffee mug or glass mugs for example.

Personalized Plastic Mugs and Plastic Promotional Mugs

There is a brisk trade in designing custom plastic mugs which are in great demand for promotional purposes. Plastic promo mugs frequently have the name and logo of a company printed on the side of the mug. These printed plastic mugs are used at conventions, given as promotional gifts and are used to serve coffee at factories, companies and institutions, where they are often used instead of the much cheaper disposable plastic coffee mugs.

On a more personal level, many people love to order personalized mugs to give as gifts also. These can frequently be ordered online, often in fairly small quantities—all you have to do is supply the artwork that you want printed on the mug and decide on a color, shape and size. Plastic name mugs are a favorite, have your friend’s name printed on his or her own coffee mug!  You can even take it a step further with plastic photo mugs and send along a print to include on the side of the mug.

This type of personalization is also a great gift for a kid. Kids plastic mugs can have a photo of the child emblazoned on the size or you can choose their favorite hero or cartoon character. That would be sure to be a big hit for any child.

Ordering Plastic Mugs in Bulk

If you are looking for cheap plastic mugs you can often buy these in bulk from various online retailers. Plastic discount mugs are offered by many retailers at very competitive prices. Perfect for anyone who hosts large parties or conventions, they are often cheaper than a regular coffee mug or cup yet they look much better than the type of plastic cups that are often used at functions.

Whether you are looking for a plastic coffee mug, plastic beer mug, plastic travel mug, clear plastic mugs  or plastic thermal coffee mugs you should not have any problems locating and purchasing them. Remember though, if you want to do the environment a favor check out the corn mugs. They come in a variety of sizes and colors and are also highly customizable if you want to use them for promotional purposes.

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4 Responses to “If You Must Use Plastic Mugs…”

  1. Mugs & Shots says:

    Totally rad mugs!!!!…

    We found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on our Site. :)…

  2. Collins Pt says:

    Very informative!!

    In recent times, the world is becoming cognizant about the hazardous effects of plastic bags on the environment.
    Also PLA has been used to line the inside of Paper Cups in place of the oil based lining more commonly used, create Plastic ( bioplastics ) Cups, Cutlery, Carrier Bags, Food Packaging and even Nappies.

  3. William Moore says:

    I always use Ceramic Coffee mugs because they are quite tough, I dropped them on the floor without breaking.

  4. Mia says:

    I use plastic mugs, but being honest with you, I never thought about all this environment stuff. But you have a point. We have to think about the environment and to avoid as much us possible pollution. After reading this post I will think twice before buying a plastic mug.

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