Household, USA

To-go coffee without the plastic lid

According to this article, Americans toss 50 billion coffee cups per year. Of course it’s more sustainable to bring your own refillable travel mug. But a quick perusal of your local coffee shop will show you most people don’t. Here’s an intriguing design for a origami-like to-go cup that is compostable.

Most paper cups are coated with a plastic lining, but the Good Cup uses a bio-based version called BioPBS that’s certified as biodegradable in home compost bins. The cup has also been certified as recyclable, and if local recycling facilities accept it, Drouet says that’s the best option. “We really wanted to maximize the end of life, because paper can be recycled up to seven times,” he says. “So, in our opinion, it doesn’t make sense to have a cup going to compost when it can be recycled.”

These can be shipped flat, but they’re still more expensive than their plastic cousins. That’s where bans on single use plastics can help.

In France, for example, disposable coffee cups are now banned unless they’re compostable. Western Australia has a similar ban on plastic-lined cups and plastic lids. A new single-use plastic ban in Quebec includes lids. (Other governments are pushing consumers more directly to reusable mugs, like Ireland, which now charges a fee for any type of disposable cup, compostable or not.)

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