environment

From plantable takeaway cup into a tree

From plantable takeaway cup into a tree

As reported by Voith, paper has many facets and can also be put to a wide range of fascinating uses. So it is no surprise that young US entrepreneur Alex Henige wants to use paper in his quest to revolutionize the packaging industry.
Coffee has a long tradition and is constantly reinventing itself. So it is no surprise that US start-up “Reduce. Reuse. Grow.” looked to the humble takeaway coffee cup for a product it could make more environmentally compatible. The mission of this newly established business is to turn items and packaging that we use every day and then throw away into biodegradable products. The project is getting off the ground with a specially developed coffee cup. Not only is it compostable, it can also be planted. It is intended to rival the highly popular disposable coffee cup that is difficult to recycle because it has a water-resistant plastic coating. For many people, picking up a takeaway coffee on their way to work, while waiting on a train or taking a stroll through the city with a friend has become almost a daily ritual. Around 40 per cent of coffee consumption is enjoyed outside of the home, making takeaway coffee a highly popular trend. According to a survey by the German Coffee Association it is the most popular drink among Germans. A global survey found that the country with the highest coffee consumption per capita is not the USA or Italy, as you might assume, but Finland. For every inhabitant of Finland, all 5.4 million of them, there are 1,754 cups of coffee consumed per year. That’s about 4.8 cups per day. Germany is in seventh place with 2.5 cups per day and the USA is in 19th place with only 1.4 cups per day. Although there are now a few recyclable takeaway cups available made of cardboard, Alex Henige, Managing Director and founder of “Reduce. Reuse. Grow.” explains that “although most cardboard cups are recycled nowadays this is not a permanent solution to the problem.” His answer is the world’s first plantable coffee cup that will end up being part of nature.
The system and the way the plantable cup works are ingenious. Every cup consists of a special paper and liner with heat-resistant wildflower seeds and one tree seed embedded in it. The US startup promises that after use the cup can be placed wherever you like in your garden, a forest or public park and that within 180 days it will have disintegrated and released the seeds. So as not to damage the eco-systems of the respective countries it will contain only the seeds of local plants. But it is not quite as simple as that. For the system to work effectively and to make sure that the cup is not disposed of beforehand by a gardener or street cleaning company, the plantable cup should ideally be soaked in water for about five minutes, unrolled and then buried in the ground. According to Henige, at least one plant can be produced from every cup and “the first small plants should be visible after one to four weeks,” provided that the instructions printed on the cup have been followed. On US project crowdfunding platform “Kickstarter“, “Reduce. Reuse. Grow.” has already raised USD 21,077 in funding for its idea. The initiators had appealed for USD 10,000, so they have more than doubled their initial funding target. The money will now be used to produce the first industrial prototypes to be used in a trial in global coffee shop chains.

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