- minimum material per cup
- use of renewable resources
- use of recyclable materials
- low cost
- small storage and transportation foot print
- high packing density (less restocking labor costs)
It might look a lot like this:
Opened to hold water. You would hold this and drink from it.
This is the dispenser next to the water cooler. That is a HUGE number of cups (100s) in a tiny space.
Compare to the ~15 styrofoam cups in this picture stacked to roughly the same height as the paper cup dispenser box.
This won't work for hot drinks and it's difficult to use a single cup for more than a few drinks, but for it's intended purpose: getting a quick drink of water, it's quite effective.
It would be better to not use disposable cups at all but...
stacked Styrofoam cups photo credit: Dan Meyer @ http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=69