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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Sacrament Cups: Paper or Plastic? » Sacrament Cups: Paper or Plastic?

Sacrament Cups: Paper or Plastic?

David - August 13, 2008



  1. Is this poll asking our preference or what our ward actually uses?

    Also, baby photo is super-cute.

    Comment by sister blah 2 — August 13, 2008 @ 7:59 am

  2. Preference. And thanks :)

    Comment by Rusty — August 13, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  3. Interesting. We use plastic, somehow, it’s just easier and there’s no leakage, but I voted for paper. Truth be told, I don’t really care either way. But still, I voted for paper.

    It’s the pressure of living in a Green world.

    Comment by cheryl — August 13, 2008 @ 8:18 am

  4. Is there some way to be eco-friendly with this? :-) (Without the original all-share-one-cup concept…) The paper ones always seemed tempting for kids to unfold and make origami–I’ve only seen plastic for years, is anyone still using paper?

    Comment by anita — August 13, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  5. My ward still uses paper. I think the water tastes better in plastic, though.

    Comment by Keri Brooks — August 13, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  6. I voted for paper. I’ve never quite been able to appreciate the sound of plastic cups falling all around the chapel.

    Comment by Amira — August 13, 2008 @ 8:29 am

  7. The paper are best because the teachers can push them far into the hole in the tray. The water makes the paper expand slightly. So then, when the congregants try to remove the cup, they can’t because it is stuck. They tug and tug, finally forcing the cup loose and splashing water all over themselves. I’ve seen it done. Never had the nerve to do it myself as a teacher, but I’ve seen it done.

    Comment by sam — August 13, 2008 @ 8:33 am

  8. I’m a paper man, too, although I haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing one for years. I liked keeping mine, flattening it out, writing messages on it and throwing it at the other high priests.

    Comment by David — August 13, 2008 @ 8:37 am

  9. Yeah… paper cups = tastes like Crayon™ (don’t ask how I know).

    Comment by Silus Grok — August 13, 2008 @ 8:38 am

  10. I prefer plastic, but have never been in a ward that uses plastic. I suppose paper is better for the environment. Maybe they could make a mini-dishwasher to wash and reuse the plastic ones?

    I can attest to #7. Sam speaks the truth.

    Comment by sister blah 2 — August 13, 2008 @ 8:57 am

  11. Paper for sure. I like the challenge of removing it from the tray without squeezing it too hard and spilling water all over my skirt. And then crushing it in my fist when I’ve conquered it.

    Comment by Susan M — August 13, 2008 @ 9:13 am

  12. Susan M,

    Not smash it on your forehead and say Booyah!?

    Comment by David — August 13, 2008 @ 9:16 am

  13. Definitely paper. Plastic cups are too loud. Last Sunday we actually had both. Our row got plastic and the row behind us got paper. Since we’ve always had paper before, my kids were enthralled with the plastic cups, so they kept them. The guy in the row behind us asked why our row was so lucky to get plastic and I told him it must be related to tithing or righteousness or something significant like that. :)

    What about plastic vs. metal trays?

    Comment by greenmormonarchitect — August 13, 2008 @ 9:20 am

  14. I think an enormous goblet would be the way to go. Each row gets its own chalice.

    Comment by Steve Evans — August 13, 2008 @ 10:06 am

  15. Only if we change the sacrament prayer to make the chalice supernaturally repel flu viruses.

    Comment by Wm Morris — August 13, 2008 @ 10:13 am

  16. I like plastic gives me something to gnaw on if the meeting is kind of slow.

    Comment by berrykat — August 13, 2008 @ 10:13 am

  17. Paper. It’s quieter. Although a paper towel in the bottom of the tray will deaden the noise of the plastic.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 13, 2008 @ 10:19 am

  18. Paper. The plastic cups in our ward give such a strong chemical taste to the water.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — August 13, 2008 @ 10:23 am

  19. “I think an enormous goblet would be the way to go. Each row gets its own chalice.”

    Can we at least have a kid cup and a group up cup? Or even better, can we do what we used to and send our kids away for that hour?

    Comment by Randy B. — August 13, 2008 @ 10:35 am

  20. The Lutheran church I was raised in gave the communion wine from a goblet. The pastor would wipe it with a white cloth after every sip but it still kinda creeped me out.

    Comment by Susan M — August 13, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  21. I’ve always liked paper, but that’s more for the fact that when preparing the trays it’s much faster than plastic.

    Of course, the flavor of water in paper cups only enhances sacrament breath rather than washes it away.

    Comment by Rusty — August 13, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  22. Paper. The water tastes better in plastic, but my kids keep the cups and make that clicking noise all through sacrament meeting. And then there is the environment . . .

    PS: I felt obligated to make this comment, since I was accused of being a no-good, newbie commenter in connection with the My Girl Bill post! :)

    Comment by Martin Willey — August 13, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  23. It’s been a while since I’ve had them– so please correct me if I’m wrong– but weren’t the portions bigger in the paper cups? Like they thought we wouldn’t notice?

    Comment by David — August 13, 2008 @ 10:49 am

  24. The portions are all dependent on the Teacher preparation. If they take their time, all get a full swig. If not, each cup varies from full to about 3 drops worth.

    Oh, and I prefer aluminum foil

    Comment by Bret — August 13, 2008 @ 11:01 am

  25. Only if we change the sacrament prayer to make the chalice supernaturally repel flu viruses

    No, no, no. It’s just that, if someone gets sick after drinking from the chalice, the Bishop rises and intones,

    “He chose . . . poorly.”

    Comment by JimD — August 13, 2008 @ 11:21 am

  26. Plastic. I guess I like the “plastic water” taste better than the “paper water” taste. In fact, I didn’t realize there was a plastic taste until Ardis in #18 pointed it out. I’ll definitely be swishing the sacrament water around in my mouth this Sunday to unlock some of the flavor and get it all around my palate. No spitting it out though.

    Comment by Matt — August 13, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

  27. Paper. I hate when we have the occasional plastic Sunday. Paper is quieter, and it’s fun to unfold. Keeps the kids busy for three extra minutes. Not to mention the degradability of the paper…

    And I’ve never seen a plastic bread or water tray… Always shiny metal.

    Comment by tracy m — August 13, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  28. Paper, for sure. You can load a tray in about one fourth the time. Besides, as has been mentioned, paper is a lot more fun to play with if you keep the cup.

    Comment by Yet Another John — August 13, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  29. Are there really magical wards where the paper cup is still in use?! Haven’t seen one in years! I miss the paper cups, so that’s my vote in this 2-party election. But if I may nominate a 3rd candidate (probably 5th in the thread:)) I think the eco-friendly thing to do would be to return the good old days with glass cups that were washed and re-used. I think you can see them at the Church History Museum or somewhere… they look nice, too.

    Comment by Eris — August 14, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  30. paper. Because my kids like to keep the cups. I fear that a plastic cup will somehow become lodged in their throat.

    Comment by JA Benson — August 14, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

  31. Well, I voted for plastic, since it doesn’t taste as bad, but, on the other hand, I do appreciate the relative silence of the paper cups.

    Re 29: http://www.keepapitchinin.org/?p=175
    Some interesting old ads for Sacrament trays.

    Re 27: When I was a teenager in Germany, we had plastic Sacrament trays. I’ve never seen any in the U.S., though.

    Every now and then, some Teacher in our Ward gets on some kick and gets out some of the old Sacrament trays, where you have to put the cup back in the hole it came out of, since there’s no “trash receptacle” in the bottom. Wow, this causes great consternation as the tray goes down the row, since people can’t figure out what to do with the cups.

    One more interesting note: the individual Wards must pay for the Sacrament cups out of their Ward budgets, and the paper cups are significantly more expensive than the plastic. So, very often, the choice is financial, not preferential.

    Comment by Paul S. — August 15, 2008 @ 12:56 am

  32. Our ward ran out of plastic cups by accident, and had to dig into an old store of paper ones. No complaints so far, although the holes in the trays seem a little small, making the cups seem a little tipsy. I haven’t seen any spills as yet.

    Comment by Pj — August 16, 2008 @ 1:09 pm

  33. Paper. I’m a paper squisher myself, and I also don’t like the idea of all that plastic going into the garbage. They do throw them away don’t they? They don’t wash them, right?

    There was a guy in my ward in Japan who had his own cup. He would drink out of his own cup every week. I thought that might be a good deal.

    Comment by meems — August 16, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

  34. man, i’ve missed this blog! somehow, you fell off of my reader and i forgot about y’all till tonight! many comments made me chuckle, but #12 made me laugh loud enough to wake the dog.

    paper, for sure. the plastic is awkward to drink out of and, of course, worse for the environment.

    i’ve never lived OUTSIDE of the states and have seen plastic sacrament trays several times. i’m thinking our wards in hawai’i used them? although some argue that hawai’i IS outside of the states… @@

    Comment by makakona — August 16, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

  35. I’m a little surprised that people assume paper is better for the environment. I doubt the church uses paper cups made from a recycled material. That equals a lot of trees….

    Comment by cj douglass — August 17, 2008 @ 5:28 am

  36. Perhaps not, cj, but on Fast Sunday you can gnaw on the paper more discreetly.

    Comment by David — August 17, 2008 @ 7:54 am

  37. I had never encounter paper cup before going on my mission to the US. The difference I have seen was that when I was a child the cups were white plastic and when I was a teenager (I think) they became clear plastic.
    I never thought about all the ways to have fun with the little paper cup. Dang I do have missed something by not growing up in the US ;o)

    Comment by G — August 17, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

  38. I love the clink of plastic cups in metal trays.

    I grew up in a ward where there was a separate cylinder passed around to put the cups in. The tray was just a tray, not a tray+used cup repository. Sad was the day when we switched to standard issue.

    Comment by Minerva — August 20, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  39. Quick non-Mormon comment here: at my usual service, we all take communion out of the same big chalice. There are a few reasons we don’t all get sick. The holder rotates the cup slightly after each drink, so everyone isn’t drinking from the same spot on the rim, and wipes it after each use. People only take a small sip, too. The biggest reason, however, is probably that in the Anglican communion service the element is usually a fairly strong wine, so the alcohol has a disinfectant effect.

    I think part of the reason we do it this way is to emulate the events of the Last Supper. (Or, to name it more optimistically, the First Communion!)

    One nice possibility for a renewable LDS sacrament service might be to provide the water in small glass or china cups which are replaced in the cup holders after use, washed, immersed in hot water, then reused for the next service. This would also eliminate the nasty taste and feel of paper cups, as well as making them easier to withdraw and hold. (Maybe toughened plastic would be better; less chance of breaking or chipping.)

    Comment by Jordan — August 22, 2008 @ 1:48 am

  40. My preference would be for PLA plastic cups providing that the correct recycling infrastructure is in place – if used at events etc then they need to be sorted seperatly from the rest of the rubbish in order to be recycled correctly. Paper cups can simply exasperate the problem of deforestation unless a renewal and replanting scheme is in effect.

    Comment by Robert Daniel — June 4, 2009 @ 8:37 am

  41. How about just blessing some pitchers, and have the members bring their own cups? The deacons would bring the pitchers to each row and pour a small amount in each cup. Since the members will be using the same cup each time, and only water goes in them, they won’t need to clean them every time, and there’s nothing to throw away or compost.

    Comment by Derek — August 1, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

  42. where do we now order sacrament cups. plastic

    Comment by Edwin Werntz — July 4, 2011 @ 9:25 am

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