A local biotechnology company in Greater Taichung on Monday said it has developed paper cups that are resistant to high temperatures, acid and alkaline solutions.
Taiwan uses about 200 million paper cups a month and the safety of food containers has raised concern after it was reported that a major Greater Taichung supplier of paper food containers had been found using a toxic solvent to wipe excess ink off its food containers.
Chang Ching-wen (張靜文), the owner of a paper cup manufacturing company, has conducted research and development on high temperature, acid and alkaline-resistant paper cups.
Since traditional paper cups provide no resistance to high temperatures, acid or alkaline, many people inadvertently consume plasticizer released from the cups when the liquid they contain is too hot, Chang said.
Chang’s company began paper cup production in 1992, when paper cups were a relatively eco-friendly product compared with plastics and polystyrene.
Despite this, the industry was not optimistic about the market.
Chang’s company developed two-tier paper cups, which made the company the largest producer of the product in Southeast Asia.
With increasing awareness of environmental protection, Chang found that the problem of plasticizers being released by paper cups containing hot beverages was difficult to solve, while the recycling value of single-use paper cups was low and disposal of such cups could cause soil and air pollution.
Chang said he has invested more than NT$200 million (US$6.81 million) in the development of a new type of paper pulp that produces paper cups resistant to temperatures as high as 130oC and that do not release plasticizers.
The cups can be placed in a microwave and are also acid and alkaline-resistant. They are 40 percent lighter than ordinary paper cups and their decomposition rate can exceed 97 percent.
Chang said the cup has obtained patents from up to 100 countries and received SGS and US Food and Drug Administration certifications.