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Renewable Paper Cups Provide Convenience in a Sustainable Way

There is strong demand for eco-friendly solutions in the food service packaging landscape. Consumers demand convenience, but in a sustainable way. The global sales of food service packaging is estimated to reach ~US$ 31 billion by the year 2027. This is why manufacturers in the biodegradable cups landscape are innovating on compostable and recyclable packaging solutions.

Market players are introducing renewable paperboard designs for paper cups that can be efficiently recycled. This novel material used for cups is suitable for hot and cold beverages, as well as for ice cream packaging. This paperboard is manufactured without a plastic coating layer. Thus, full fiber recovery helps reduce the environmental footprint by almost half as compared to conventional plastic cups.

The introduction of recyclable paper cups helps comply with strict environmental regulations, as governments in many countries are introducing bans on plastic usage. For instance, in May 2019, Stora Enso - a paper and pulp company, announced the launch of Cupforma Natura Solo™ - a high-quality renewable paperboard for paper cups.

biodegradable cups market infographic

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Manufacturers Incorporate Water-soluble Coatings in Biodegradable Cups

The growth of the food service and packaging industry is triggering growth for the biodegradable cups market, which currently has a global production volume of ~149 billion units (2018). Manufacturers generally use plastic barriers against moisture, oil, grease, and heat in cups. Since this practice is not environmentally-friendly, market players are introducing water-based compostable coatings in biodegradable cups.

Biodegradable cups made from water-soluble coating help in easy disposal and can be effectively recycled. This environmental food grade barrier coating solves the issue against water, grease, and heat, for stakeholders in the food and beverage industry. To increase application in the food and beverage industry, manufacturers are improving biodegradable cups with value-added features such as heat resistance for oven applications, heat sealing, and water-based elements that pose no risk for human health. As such, manufacturers in the biodegradable cups landscape are innovating on new paper composites that do not require a barrier in cups, allowing them to biodegrade and be recycled easily.

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Ground-level Initiatives Help Overcome Limitations of Recycling Infrastructure

The biodegradable cups market is highly fragmented, which is creating opportunities for emerging manufacturers to enter the market. However, established and emerging market players need to tackle the limitations of the existing recycling infrastructure. Although plastic and fiber materials in biodegradable cups can be recycled when separated, these materials cannot be easily recycled, since there are only few strong incentives for recyclers to recover the materials.

As such, market players are rolling out the scout’s honor system to efficiently collect reusable cups for further treatment. For example, in March 2019, Starbucks - an American coffee company, announced the exploration of next-generation recycling and composting technologies, and is working closely with municipalities to increase the acceptance of biodegradable cups.

Another innovation in the biodegradable cups landscape is the development of high-tech cups with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) lids to manage the inventory of reusable cups and improve traceability in complicated venues such as stadiums.

biodegradable cups market segmentation

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Analysts’ Viewpoint

The biodegradable cups market is expected to experience 1.5x market value expansion during the forecast period. Currently, the market is favorable for expansion in North America and Europe. As such, there is high potential for incremental opportunity in Asia Pacific during the coming years. Manufacturers are developing biodegradable cups without barriers, which serves as a quick solution for easy recycling and ensures flexibility for stakeholders in the value chain. However, market players are challenged with the limitations of the recycling infrastructure. As such, they are introducing subscription/scout’s honor systems at food outlets and coffee houses to manage the inventory of single-use recyclable cups. Market players should focus on offering innovative packaging solutions for stakeholders in the foodservice packaging landscape. Also targeting educational institutes can increase awareness about the environmental benefits of biodegradable cups. 

  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest market report on the biodegradable cups market for the historical period of 2014-2018 and forecast period of 2019-2027, the increased demand for food, beverages, and consumer packaging is estimated to drive the biodegradable cups market. Globally, revenue generated by the biodegradable cups market has been estimated to be around 390 Mn in 2019. The biodegradable cups market is expected to expand at a CAGR of ~5% in terms of value throughout the forecast period.
  • Increasing awareness regarding the adverse effects of plastic on the environment has led to the formation of stringent regulations for single-use plastic. These regulations have led to an increase in the consumption of biodegradable cups amongst consumers.
  • Consumers and end users are aware of the negative impact of plastic on the environment. Specific steps are being adopted by governments to reduce the usage of plastic, which has resulted in the ban of single-use plastic in several countries. Many institutions and companies are trying to develop different products that could replace traditionally used plastics.
  • Plastic cups and their lining are made from oil, which is a nonrenewable resource. The fact that manufacturing plastic requires a non-renewable resource results in the depletion of Earth’s resources, which is already limited and cannot be overlooked.       
  • Biodegradable cups are made from plants such as sugarcane, corn, and others, which are renewable sources, unlike conventionally used petroleum-based plastic cups. They are an ecofriendly and sustainable, which has made them a better alternative for consumers and end users to embrace.
  • Utilizing biodegradable cups will result in a reduction in the amount of waste dumped into landfills and oceans.
  • The production of bioplastics such as PLA uses 65% less energy in comparison to the ones created by raw petroleum.
  • All the above factors are contributing to the high growth of the biodegradable cups market.

Pollution Woes Caused by Usage of Fertilizers Can Restrict Market Growth

  • According to a study at the University of Pittsburgh in 2010, bioplastics cannot be considered highly ecofriendly if their lifecycles are taken into the consideration. The study involves the comparison of seven traditionally used plastics, one from renewable resources and fossil fuels and four from bioplastics. It revealed that, substantial utilization of fertilizers and pesticides on growing crops, along with the chemical processes that they undergo to turn organic material into plastic, has resulted in the production of a higher amount of pollutants.
  • Also, there has been a considerable amount of land diverted from food production in a world that is increasingly becoming food scarce.
  • Such limitations are bound to impede the growth of the biodegradable cups market to some extent.

Consumer Convenience Will be at the Epicenter of Manufacturing Strategies                                                  

  • Manufacturers are focusing on expanding their product portfolios of biodegradable cups to meet the growing demand from traveling consumers. Biodegradable cup manufacturers are focusing on design to enable optimum consumer convenience. There is an increase in the production of biodegradable cups, due to its recyclability features.
  • Manufacturers of biodegradable cups are ramping up their production lines to produce biodegradable cups to be compatible with coffee machines.
  • Biodegradable cup manufacturers are focusing on expanding their production capacities in developing countries such as India, China, etc., due to the growing demand from fast food service outlets in these countries.

Biodegradable Cups Market: Competition Landscape

  • Some of the key players in the global biodegradable cups market that are included in the report are
    • Huhtamaki Oyj
    • Colpac Ltd.
    • Benders Paper Cup Company
    • Fabri-Kal
    • World Centric
    • Bio Futura B.V.
    • Genpak, LLC
    • Dart Container Corporation
    • Pactiv LLC
    • Lollicup USA Inc.
  • Key manufacturers in the global biodegradable cups market are focusing on expansion through acquisitions and partnerships. In recent years, it has also been observed that, key participants in the biodegradable cups market are increasing their popularity around the globe by expanding their product portfolios and introducing innovative cup technologies.
  • In July 2019, Huhtamaki Oyj launched a new product called the Impresso double walled, hot cup, in its existing BioWare™ product range. In March 2018, it acquired a majority of stake in Cup Print, which is an Ireland-based manufacturer of cups.
  • In July 2019, Colpac Ltd. worked with Zeus in order to help in the development of an eclectic range of its LeafWARE brand. The product is compostable and fully recyclable. In June 2019, it achieved ISO certification 14001:2015 by driving internal initiatives that reduced environmental footprint. In April 2019, Colpac collaborated with ZA, a brand launched by Pizza Express, to create a sustainable packaging solution that can be easily recycled by consumers.
  • In December 2018, Fabri-Kal added two more sidekick containers of 12 and 16 ounces to cater to varying customer needs.
  • In May 2018, World Centric announced the launch of its NoTree™ range of products, which includes fully compostable hot cups and bowls. In February 2019, the company unveiled its compostable Harvest Fiber Taco Line. It offers a range of Earth-friendly products for food packaging.

Biodegradable Cups Market - Scope of the Report

Transparency Market Research (TMR) recently published a market study on the global market for biodegradable cups. The study provides detailed assessment on the key market dynamics, including the drivers, trends, opportunities, restraints, and detailed information about the biodegradable cups market structure. The market study presents exclusive information about how the biodegradable cups market will grow during the forecast period of 2019-2027.

Key indicators of market growth, which include Year-on-Year (Y-o-Y) growth of the market, value chain, supply chain analysis, and Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) are explained in TMR’s study in a comprehensive manner. This information can help readers understand the quantitative growth prospects of the biodegradable cups market during the forecast period.

The study is relevant for stakeholders in the biodegradable cups market, including biodegradable cup manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and investors, and can help them in developing appropriate strategies to grow in the market. Stakeholders in the biodegradable cups market, investors, industry experts, researchers, and journalists, as well as business researchers, can leverage the information and data presented in TMR’s study.

The study also includes statistics and facts related to the macro as well as microeconomic factors that are impacting developments in the market. It also offers actionable insights based on the future trends in the biodegradable cups market. Furthermore, small businesses and new entrants in the biodegradable cups market too can make use of the information presented in this study, based on which, they can make appropriate business decisions in order to gain momentum in the market.

Key Questions Answered in TMR’s Biodegradable Cups Market Report

  • Which regions will continue to remain the most profitable regional markets for biodegradable cups market players?
  • Which factors will induce a change in the demand for biodegradable cups during the assessment period?
  • How will changing trends impact the biodegradable cups market?
  • How can market players capture the low-hanging opportunities in the biodegradable cups market in developed regions?
  • Which companies are leading the biodegradable cups market?
  • What are the winning strategies of stakeholders in the biodegradable cups market to upscale their position in this landscape?

Biodegradable Cups Market: Research Methodology

In TMR’s study, a unique methodology is utilized to conduct extensive research on the growth of the biodegradable cups market, and reach conclusions on the future growth parameters of the market. This research methodology is a combination of primary and secondary research, which helps analysts ensure accuracy and reliability of the conclusions.

Secondary resources referred to by analysts during the production of the biodegradable cups market study include statistics from governmental organizations, trade journals, white papers, and internal and external proprietary databases. Analysts have interviewed senior managers, product portfolio managers, CEOs, VPs, marketing/product managers, and market intelligence managers, who contributed to the development of this report as a primary resource.

Comprehensive information acquired from primary resources and secondary resources acts as a validation from companies in the biodegradable cups market, and makes TMR’s projection on the growth prospects of the biodegradable cups market more accurate and reliable.

Key Segments of the Biodegradable cups Market

TMR’s study on the biodegradable cups market offers information divided into five important segments-capacity, material, product, end use, and region. This report offers comprehensive data and information about the important market dynamics and growth parameters associated with these categories.


Up to 7 Oz

8 – 14 Oz

15 – 20 Oz

Above 20 Oz



  • Spreads
  • Sauces & Dressings
  • Confectionaries


  • Hot
  • Cold

Ice Cream




  • PLA
  • PBS



Single Wall

Double Wall

End Use

Food Service Outlets

  • Quick Service Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Cafes


  • Educational & Public Institutes
  • Private Institutes
  • Malls & Multiplexes



North America

Latin America


Asia Pacific (APAC)

Middle East & Africa


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Biodegradable Cups Market

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