Biodegradable paper cup, does the Country of Origin Affect Sustainability?

Today, you can buy biodegradable paper cups from a domestic supplier or import from China. There are ups and downs to buying from either side. If you buy from China, you’re likely to enjoy lower prices at the expense of quality. Sometimes, your batch may be delayed in port or in the manuafturing process, this could have a negative impact on your day to day business.

does the Country of Origin Affect Sustainability?
Does the Country of Origin Affect Sustainability?

In contrast, buying from the UK is an avenue to premium quality and shorter lead times inturn support the local domestic employment and boost the UK economy. Besides your biodegradable paper cups will meet safety and manufacturing UK & European standards. The only problem is that sometimes quality can come at a slightly higher price, but in saying that the gap is narrowing as shipping costs & china’s wages rises increase.

Above all, coffee cups are about sustainability. To begin with, customers want friendly, safe, and biodegradable paper cups. Most of the people want to conserve the environment and fight climatic change. Likewise, authorities intend to reduce the use of plastics and encourage eco-friendly products.

So, whether you are importing or buying from the UK, ask yourself, are your coffee cups sustainable? But we will help you here! This article will establish if the country of origin affects biodegradable paper cups’ sustainability. 

Cost Vs. Sustainability: Is Cheap Cheap? 

We’ve all heard that buying cheap is expensive, but does this apply to biodegradable paper cups? Let’s find out. 

Quality, Sustainability, Economy

Products from the UK and those imported from China may match in quality but vary in prices. Chinese products are cheaper most of the time. But what’s their secret? Think for a second what manufacturing biodegradable paper cups involves.

There are labour costs to incur, taxes, transport, and environmental regulations to meet. Most people believe lower wages in China are the reason behind their low prices. But there’s more to their prices than meets the eye.

Wages are still low in China despite many years of protests. Over one billion people leave under abject poverty, and this encourages little pay. Then, weaker environmental and safety regulations also contribute to low prices.

Even with environmental agencies, ignorance of the law, and weak enforcement affect prices. Most companies can evade the law to export any poor quality product via the seas or air. 

Also, unbalanced tariffs and currency manipulations ensure that Chinese products are cheaper. This makes foreign goods extremely expensive for the Chinese. Meanwhile, their exports remain low-priced. 

Control of Wood Sources Affects Sustainability

Paper cups come from the woodlands, and so they can be culprits of forest destruction. Also, food security standards discourage using recycled paper in the making of coffee cups. Meaning, without controls, wanton logging can occur to sustain the coffee craze.

In the UK, some well known NGO’s help to control the harvesting of woodlands. Affiliated paper companies are thus bound to use sustainable paperboards for paper manufacturing. So, domestic paper cup manufacturers must be responsible and transparent. 

In forest conservation, China compares to a wolf in sheepskin. True, they have banned logging and set up aggressive tree-planting programs. But they are still the world’s leading consumers of timber products. China imports millions of virgin timber and ranks top in exporting paper products.

Pollution Rates

If you were buying sustainable products, you would be curious to know the manufacturers stand on environmental matters. Similarly, in buying biodegradable paper cups, it’s also essential to buy from an eco-conscious country.


China had installed measures to control greenhouse emissions and reduce air pollution. But they remain the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases. Today, they produce 30% of the world’s fossil fuels and top plastic manufacturing charts around the globe

Most of its cities are over-polluted, and people are at the risk of mercury poisoning. According to the WHO, pollution is one of the highest killers in China. Over a million people die every year from air pollution diseases.

Lately, China has heightened coal exploration and has set up new plants. Meanwhile, its commitment to investing in green energy seems to be mere talk. As you can see, avoiding Chinese products can be the best way to reduce environmental crimes.

Importing Increases Carbon Imprint

Importing any product heightens carbon emissions. Consider the extra fuel consumed to take your product from the foreign factory to the airport. This is a preventable carbon imprint incurred for the sake of saving buying costs.

Carbon Imprint

One study shows 22% of global carbon emissions arise from exported products. Meaning, while we strive to cut our carbon imprint, importing offsets the fruits of our sustainability efforts. For example, household emissions that account for 40% of the UK’s total emissions rise past 50% when you consider CO2 from imported goods. 

Including exported carbon emissions helps us to see our real carbon imprint. It also shows us our true responsibility in the quest for a cleaner planet. Yes, importing intensifies carbon emissions. But who is to blame for the persistent pollution?

Currently, China shoulders the most blame for greenhouse emissions. As a manufacturing giant and the largest exporter, the figures aren’t too surprising. But the correct carbon imprint can only come out when other nations opt for domestic production. 

Difficulties of Tracking Sustainability and Quality

One risk of buying from abroad is that you’re never confident of the quality and you must bet on sustainability. At some point, you will receive substandard goods. And if you’re fortunate, quality issues will be minimal.

Tracking Sustainability

Besides, you can not confirm quality processes and matters of sustainability are always out of your hand. Unfortunately, you don’t have the time to track your supplier or counter check every shipment.

For instance, how do you verify if the shipment of biodegradable paper cups is PLA coated? You can liaise with your supplier for environmental and quality checks. But you can only be always on bated breath. Someday, the worst may happen, and the cost you’re likely to incur can be impossible. 

Country of Origin Affects Sustainability

Sure, importing biodegradable paper cups or any other product is not a sound decision. Unless the product is unavailable locally, then always consider what’s sustainable. Think about the environmental repercussions of importing and the ease of doing your business.