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Recently, plastic cups can be used for hot beverages, such as coffee, in which case the customer may hold the cup and drink from it while walking or driving in a car. Plastic cups are also used for transporting hot foods or liquids, such as soup, where they should not be opened until the customer arrives at their destination.
You know, heat transferred directly through the side of a cup can cause a burn. To avoid this, Type 6 plastic, in the form of expanded polystyrene, or foam, is a popular choice for plastic cups. Foam cups can keep the contents hot, but insulate them so that heat does not transfer to the outside of the cup. The container remains cool to touch.
We want the most stable shape, so that the plastic cup does not tip and possibly cause a spill. But we also want a shape that's convenient for the customer. With a coffee cup, for example, a narrow tapered shape is easier to hold in the hand than a wide cylindrical shape, but the tapered sides create a narrower bottom, which is less stable. The best shape for a hot beverage cup, therefore, is often a compromise between convenience and stability. plastic container intended for hot liquids, like soup, tend to be shorter and wider, with straighter sides, for maximum stability.
Foam plastic cups are available in plain white, or they can be printed with any number of colors and designs. As well as being decorative, the printing can also contain a warning that the contents of the cup may be hot, and that the customer should be careful to avoid spills and burns. Cups can also be embossed with designs for an interesting look, with the added benefit that the texture can provide a more secure grip.
Generally, to keep the contents securely contained inside, plastic cups nowadays are paired with appropriate plastic lids. We'll look at those next.
For selecting lids, the intended use of the plastic container may help determine whether or not the lid has a vent. If the plastic container is meant to remain closed until the customer reaches their destination, then a non-vented lid may be the appropriate choice. It will keep heat and vapors enclosed, which will help keep the contents hot.
The design becomes more complicated if the customer might drink from the container while the lid is still on it. With a coffee cup, for example, openings are placed in the lid for two important reasons. First, as a vent, so that hot steam may escape without causing a scald to the customer, and secondly, as a way for the customer to drink the beverage without having to remove the top.
Plastic lids for hot beverage plastic cusps can be designed with one opening that serves both purposes. Or, they may be designed with one opening that serves as a vent, and a second opening through which to drink the beverage. There are many variations, such as a re-closable tab that can be opened for drinking and allow steam to escape, or be closed to keep the contents hot. Or, the center of the top can be elevated above the rim, providing more space inside for cooling and for safety.
Today, most plastic lids designed for hot beverage plastic cup are made from rigid plastic. For hot food containers made from foam, lids made from foam are also available. Whichever type of lid is chosen, it's critical to choose a design that securely fastens to the container's rim to avoid spill.