Most disposable paper coffee cups are made from 100% bleached paperboard. During the process of manufacturing, the cups are laminated with a plastic resin called polyethylene. The reason for the paperboard and the polyethylene is to ensure that the cups are strong enough to withstand the hot liquid. Unfortunately, the plastic resin coating interferes with the decomposition process, making these cups not much better than Styrofoam when it comes to biodegradability.
The paperboard itself is manufactured in the same way as other paper material. The wood is cut down, then fed through a machine to be turned into wood chips. The chips are washed to remove all dirt, then mixed with water and processed. The result – a paper pulp – is dried and the fibers are pressed together to make paper.