Plastic and paper cups have quickly become precious commodities as a national shortage has left fast-food chains, restaurants and coffee shops scrambling to stock their shelves, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).
Reason for shortage: Disposable cups imported from China are stranded in ports because of supply chain congestion, U.S. paper mill staff shortages have caused delays in the production of paper cups, and the U.S. is still recovering from last year’s Texas freeze, which suspended the production of resins used to make plastic cups and paper cup coating.
Why it matters: The national cup shortage threatens the energy source and morning routines of countless American consumers who rely on caffeine to go.
Blowing the lid off: A lid shortage is further complicating issues for beverage sellers who are trying to get any cups they can and then realizing they cannot find lids to fit them.
Creative solutions: “Some places are fighting shortages and higher costs by selling branded, reusable cups that carry a drink discount. These environmentally friendly options were largely off the table early in the pandemic, restaurant operators said.”
Sharp rise in plastic cost: According to federal data, labor and input shortages have caused prices for plastic packaging products to increase by 24% over the past year.