Quantcast

World's First Plantable Coffee Cup to Replenish Forests

Business

Unless you bring your own thermos or mug, paper cups are the de facto option for on-the-go coffee. But as we all know, producing these simple items mow down forests of trees and contributes to mountains of landfill waste. In fact, Starbucks alone goes through 4 billion paper cups a year globally and most of these plastic-lined menaces are never recycled.

Reduce. Reuse. Grow. is tackling the coffee industry's behemoth paper cup problem by giving single-use beverage holders a further purpose: reforestation.

 

But a noble project from Reduce. Reuse. Grow. is tackling the coffee industry's behemoth paper cup problem by giving these single-use beverage holders a further purpose: reforestation.

A San Luis Obispo, California startup claims to have developed "The World's First Plantable Coffee Cup." The prototype 12-ouncer has seeds from local nurseries and landscapes embedded within its post-consumer, paper-based material. That means after you're done with the cup, you can unravel it, soak it in water for a few minutes, bury it and let nature take over.

To prevent the spread of invasive plants, the bottom of the cup details the seed variety and also includes instructions on how to plant it either in the northern or central coast of California. (So if you got the cup, you wouldn't want to plant it outside of specific regions). For those who don't want to get their hands dirty, the cup can be tossed into a designated Reduce. Reuse. Grow. bin where it'll eventually be taken to a reforestation location.

The cup is currently in prototype phase, and the company is crowdsource funding in order to take it into commercial production and target coffee shops to stock the cups.

Even though there are already recyclable cups on the market, as Reduce. Reuse. Grow. points out on their Kickstarter page, those cups can only be recycled a few times before it's trashed, whereas their cups are compost certified and can biodegrade within 180 days.

"Even when we think we are recycling and doing a good deed, the paper itself within these products can only be reused [two to three times] before the fibers are unusable and discarded into local landfills without consumer's knowing," the page reads.

Seed-filled everyday items aren't exactly a new concept. There are already plantable greeting cards and even memorial tree urns, as well as a similar paper seed cup that someone tried to market a few years back.

Still, it's clear that something needs to be done about the country's 146 billion paper cup a year problem. Reduce. Reuse. Grow. began as a senior project by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo landscape architecture student Alex Henige, who wrote on his bio page, "The thought of 'throwing away' items which would later be sent into local landfills always seemed like a strange concept and ultimately a huge design flaw within or current consumption day to day actions."

We'll drink to that.

Watch here as Henige shares his concerns about consumerism and the work of Reduce. Reuse. Grow.:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

3 Young Entrepreneurs Find Revolutionary Way to Cut Out Food Waste

Charge Your Smart Phone With 3D-Printed Solar Tree

What to Consider When Buying a Can of Tuna

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

"It would be great to see all the candidates join Elizabeth Warren in taking the No Big Ag Money Pledge," said Citizens Regeneration Lobby's Alexis Baden-Mayer. Peter Blanchard / Flickr / ric (CC BY 2.0)

By Andrea Germanos

Food system justice and environmental advocates on Wednesday urged all Democratic presidential hopefuls to follow in the footsteps of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in signing a pledge rejecting campaign cash from food and agribusiness corporations.

Read More
A new study shows the impact Native Americans had on landscapes was "small" compared to what followed by Europeans. The findings provide important takeaway for conservation in New England today, seen above in a view of areas surrounding Rangeley Lakes in Maine. Cappi Thompson / Moment / Getty Images

There's a theory going around that Native Americans actively managed the land the lived on, using controlled burns to clear forests. It turns out that theory is wrong. New research shows that Native Americans barely altered the landscape at all. It was the Europeans who did that, as ZME Science reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Loggers operate in an area of lodgepole pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on Sept. 13, 2019 in Montana. As climate change makes summers hotter and drier in the Northern Rockies, forests are threatened with increasing wildfire activity, deadly pathogens and insect infestations, including the mountain pine beetle outbreak. The insects have killed more than six million acres of forest across Montana since 2000. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump told a crowd at the Davos World Economic Forum Tuesday that the U.S. will join the Forum's 1t.org initiative to restore and conserve one trillion trees around the world, according to The Hill.

Read More
Wild rice flatbread is one of many Native recipes found in Indigikitchen. Indigikitchen

The online cooking show Indigikitchen is providing a platform to help disseminate Indigenous food recipes — while helping eaters recognize their impact on the planet and Native communities.

Read More

On the Solomon Islands, rats and poachers are the two major threats to critically endangered sea turtles. A group of local women have joined forces to help save the animals from extinction.

Read More