Given America’s caffeine addiction, it’s no surprise that to-go coffee cups contribute significant amounts of waste to landfills. One California-based company has a solution to cut back on coffee-related trash: cups that can be planted. Seeds embedded in fibers that make up the cup’s walls will spring to life when soaked in water and then buried in the ground. If a consumer chooses to throw the cup away instead of planting it, that’s ok, too. The biodegradable cups turn into compost, and they will break down into natural material within 180 days.
Coffee shops that choose to adopt the cups will have special wastebaskets to collect these discarded cups. Community partners can pick them up and use the biodegradable material to re-plant natural areas that have been burned or otherwise destroyed.
Aside from contributing positively to the environment, the cups can also add value to the business models of coffee shops. Offering plantable cups can boost shops’ reputations and even bring in more customers. According to the project’s Kickstarter fundraising page, the technology can also be applied to to-go containers, corrugated cardboard boxes and other paper products.