Plastic Cups For Water Coolers and Vending: How to Choose

If you are purchasing plastic cups for a water cooler or a vending machine, you need to choose the correct specification. The consequences of not doing so may result in unnecessary cost on the cups or the avoidable cost of engineers call out charges to fixed jammed vending machines. 

What is the difference between a water cup and a vending Cup?

A vending cup is precision manufactured to perform without jamming in a complex fully automatic vending machine. Because of their low manufacturing tolerances, higher material costs, they tend to cost more than water cooler cups.

Water cups do not need to be heat resistant and jamming is less of an issue than it would be in a vending machine. As a result they can be made of more inexpensive materials, and with thinner side walls.

More on vending cups

Plastic vending cups are made from High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) (code 6 for recycling) and are usually available in white.

They come in 3 basic sizes: 

7oz. Tall (7oz. capacity cup with a 70mm rim diameter) 
7oz. Squat (7oz. capacity cup with a 73mm rim diameter) 
9oz. Tall (9oz. capacity cup with a 73mm rim diameter)  

The UK market is unique in that is has the 2 distinct rim sizes which goes back to the 60s when the vending industry was in its infancy and we adopted both the U.S standard of 2 7/8", which was converted to 73mm, and the European standard of 70mm.

Most vending machines have fixed cup splitters and the correct rim size cup must be used to avoid machine failures. Some vending machines have adjustable splitters and may be able to take both sizes. Please refer to the manufacturer for more information about this.

Vending Cups are recyclable and can be added to 'mixed recycling'. 

More on water cups

Water cups are simple plastic cups. Apart from being food safe, they only need to be able to stand upright and hold water. As a disposable and low value item, very little consideration is given to quality. For most buyers they just need to be as cheap as possible. Over the years, manufacturers have responded to this demand by making them ever lighter in weight.

Most Water coolers have a built in cup dispenser which is designed to take a rim diameter between 70mm and 78mm.

The most popular material for Water Cooler Cups is clear polypropylene. Polypropylene has the recycling symbol ‘5’. Used polypropylene water cups are a source food grade, uncoloured and relatively clean plastic that is welcomed for recycling. 

The most popular size is a 230ml. 300ml plastic cups for water coolers are available but with the limitation on a 70mm rim diameter this product can prove to be unstable when near to full. 

Why Buy From Regalzone?

Regalzone specialises in plastic cups and plastic glasses. We have direct links with the manufacturers which enable us to give the keenest pricing. We supply water cups only by the pallet and the minimum order is £500.