Paper coffee cups are used by millions of businesses (including the thousands of coffee shops in America), are biodegradable and compostable / recyclable. Styrofoam is harmlful for people and the environment.
Other airlines use paper cups. Why won't United?
Styrofoam lasts forever and doesn't break down. It's also lightweight and floats in water and is considered the main component of trash in the ocean. Also, the chemicals that make up styrofoam are incredibly harmful.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services , added styrene -- the chemical used in the manufacture of Styrofoam cups and food containers -- to its list of substances "reasonably anticipated" to cause cancer. Styrene has also been linked to nerve damage and hormonal disruption.
Paper doesn't have any of those negative effects. Tell United to switch to paper coffee cups!