When we think about paper cups in the modern day, we think about takeaway coffees, festivals, parties and our favourite ice cream. They represent a way of taking some kind of luxury product away from its original source with the intention of just disposing of it later. We have even witnessed diversification into takeaway paper trays, plates and bowls. Today, the majority of the population would associate paper products such as these with their disposability and thus, their ease and convenience, above anything else. Correct?
However, this is not the purpose that brought the trusty paper cup came into being…
Way back in the early nineteen hundreds, 1907 to be exact, a lawyer called Laurence Luellen had the bright idea about the way in which germs might be spreading from person to person. His theory was that the faithful community drinking fountain was responsible for spreading germs through the use of a single cup between multiple people. And there it is, the golden idea. A simple solution to a relevant problem. A disposable, sterile paper cup that has a single, one time use, in order to prevent the spread of infection from human to human. The ‘Health Kup’ was born!
It was even better received in 1918, during a large scale influenza pandemic which was responsible for death’s totalling 5% of the world’s population. If history has taught us anything, it’s that in times like these, in the midst of a public a health disaster, it is imperative that hygiene diligence and cleanliness are of upmost importance. The simple art of making sure that everything we touch is clean and cleaning oneself after touching anything dirty. It’s no wonder that Starbucks, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts banned multi-use ceramic tableware and keep-cups in favour of the trustworthy paper cup. The paper chalice we know all too well is a simple solution to a relevant problem – minimising the spread of infection.
Bringing it back from Victorian emergencies to the modern world, we are witnessing a shift in behaviour which mirrors that of the past but with a modern spin. As of Wednesday 17th March, the government announced that restaurants and pubs will be allowed to operate as a takeaway delivery business in emergency measures to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak. Not only does this deal with the issue of vulnerable people not being able to get food for themselves, but it also enables small businesses at risk to carry on functioning through these difficult times using diversified revenue streams. This is the modern day solution to a problem that started way back to the 1900’s, yet again, reasserting an example of disposable alternatives being used to fulfil a need in a time of public health desperation.
The full article on changes to takeaway legislation can be found HERE:
So if you want to ensure a sterile drinking vessel for gracing one’s lips with the sweet taste of coffee in the morning, or feel the need to provide your customers with the protection they deserve, think about the trusty paper cup, or ‘Health Kup’ as it was first named, protecting public health of the highest significance.