Could super-eco coffee cups be the next big thing?

california-eco-plantable-coffee-cupsAt the Wholesale Coffee Company, we’ve always concerned about environmental and ethical issues, so we were interested to hear about a new super-eco plantable coffee cup that’s helping to protect the environment.

Invented in California (where else?), the cup is being marketed by a company called Reduce Reuse Grow, and the difference is that it’s packed with seeds. The seeds are currently only suitable for use in California as the blend is a Californian native seed reforestation mix, but if the prototype proves a commercial success the company may consider introducing other seed blends for other locations. After consumers throw the cup away in a special bin, the company undertake to plant it in one of three nature parks, and say that they’ve already planted 140,000 cups.

So far, none of the big US coffee chains has adopted the cups, partly as the technology is so new but also as they’re more expensive than regular cups. The eco cups weigh in at $0.02 each (just over £0.01), making them a cent more than conventional cups. For big chains, this can soon add up, given that Americans drink around 400 million cups of coffee a day.

The Plantable Coffee Cups biodegrade completely in 180 days, and each cup is capable of growing one tree. The company’s founder, Alex Henige, is planning to use the same technology to produce other food packaging products such as boxes. It seems that there’s plenty of support for the scheme, as it raised $20,000 in a month through a crowd-funding Kickstarter campaign to enable to cups to be produced commercially.

These cups are still at an early stage in their commercial development, but we’ll be interested to see what happens longer term.

In the meantime, take a look at our range of paper cups on the Wholesale Coffee Company main website.